State Insurance Fund Healthy Despite Delinquent Payment From Gov’t., Private Employers
This was revealed by Employees Compensation Commission executive director Dr. Benjamin Vitasa during the ECC Convergent Project held at the Apo View Hotel yesterday. A total of 180 participants from the government and private sectors belonging to an estimated 90 industries attended the conference which seeks to promote awareness about the program.
“The funds for the State Insurance Fund can last several more years if the present rate of payment continues,” Vitasa said. A total of 8,000 private sector employers and 1,5 million government employers are presently contributing to the fund at the rate of P30 per worker per month (private sector) and P100 per worker per month (government sector).
However, VItasa admitted that not all employers are paying the mandatory contribution for the Employees’ Compensation Program. Even employers from the government sector do not pay the mandated P100 per worker monthly contribution for the fund. Some government employers are only paying P30 per worker per month, he added.
Payment for the ECP is mandated by law to provide a compensation package for public and private employees in case of work-related injury, sickness or death. The ECP is implemented by the Social Security System for private sector workers and by the Government Service Insurance System for government workers. It does not however cover self-employed workers.
Vitasa did not mention any specific penalty for employers found not paying the mandatory contribution for their workers. However, he said, if an accident happens and the employer failed to log it and report it to the SSS the employer is made to pay a certain percentage of the compensation due the worker instead of the whole amount coming from the ECC.
Those who suffer from an injury or illness as a result of their work can apply for compensation either with the SSS or the GSIS. These agencies will evaluate if the claim is really work-related. Claims that are denied can be appealed to the ECC.
“It is very easy to appeal a claim to us because you do not need a lawyer; just inform us about your denied claim and we will decide in 30 days,” Vitasa said. The ECC, he added, has a very high percentage of case disposition with 95% of cases resolved in 2007 and already 88% resolved as of the third quarter of 2008.
Vitasa said “we have approved 11% of the 700 cases appealed to us last year where ruled in favor of the workers.” Those whose cases are denied by the ECC can appeal to the Court of Appeals and to the Supreme Court.
A sickness is considered work-related if it is in the ECC list of Occupational Diseases, he said. If it is not in the list, he added, then there should be proof that it was caused by the nature of the work or the working conditions of the employee.
He said an employee who meets a work-related accident can also claim under the ECP provided it arises in the course of employment such as when the employee is injured at the workplace (of while going to or coming from work) while performing his official function and other conditions that apply under the law.
He said most of the compensation cases from 70 to 80% come from Luzon particularly regions 3, 4 and the National Capital Region probably because most industries are located in these areas.