Position on the Mandatory SSS enrollment
- Migrante Japan is opposed to the mandatory SSS enrollment for overseas Filipino workers. We believe that this is another form of state exaction to steal away their hard-earned money in exchange for promised benefits that may not be immediately available to them, or if these benefits would ever be accessible to them at all.
- We believe that enrollment in the SSS should be voluntary, a decision that should be left for OFWs to decide.
In the case of OFWs dispatched to Japan:
- Japan and the Philippines have signed a social security agreement in 2015, purportedly to avoid double enrollment. This agreement took effect on August 1, 2018. However, the agreement only covers dispatched workers to either country for a period of 5 years, or less, and in special cases, workers on extended contract for another 3 years. In this case, a Filipino worker dispatched to Japan can choose to either enroll, or continue his/her contribution through the SSS pension plan, or enroll in the local pension system of Japan (shakai hokken) which has also become mandatory for foreign workers (including foreign workers under the trainee program and Economic Partnership Program, or EPA) if they work more than 30 hours a week prior to the signing of this agreement.
- Regarding coverage in terms of benefits, sadly, the agreement only covers 5-year, or less continuous work period. This means, they will have to wait until they reach retirement age before they could reap their social security benefits, or opt to continue paying their premiums to the local social security system once they got back to their country of origin until they reach retirement age. There are also other benefits like the worker’s accident insurance that may not be covered by the said agreement. In this case, an OFW worker in Japan who is already enrolled in the SSS may have to find his own worker’s accident compensation insurance to cover for unexpected medical and death coverage. The lack of an implementing guidelines also creates confusion on the part of both workers and employers.
- MIGRANTE Japan’s position remains that the choice whether to enroll in the social security system of the Philippine or Japan should be left in the hand of the OFW. They should be given the option to choose based on their assessment of what system would best serve their needs and interests. There are advantages and disadvantages on both ends and the OFW should be given a free hand to make their wise decision.
- Another critic of the agreement is that OFWs in Japan were not adequately consulted, if they were ever consulted at all, before the agreement was signed by the two governments. Since the agreement revolves around hard-earned monies of our OFWs; they should have been properly and adequately consulted.###