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National Unemployment Insurance Act


August 31, 2022
Updated on March 27, 2024
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NATIONAL UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE ACT

Measure

Location

Filing of bills

Committee
(First Reading)

Plenary
(Second Reading)

Passed
(Third Reading)

Bicameral Committee

President's Approval

Implementing Rules and Regulations

SENATE

Bills passed are deliberated by both chambers

Final bill Sent to Malacañang for President's approval / veto

IRR drafted by relevant agency

SB 133

Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development

Filed by legislators

Pending since August 1, 2022

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

HB 490

Committee on Labor and Employment

Filed by legislators

Pending since July 26, 2022

Passage Assessment

Likelihood

Timeframe

Uncertainty

SENATE

Probable

2022 - 2023

Medium Confidence

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Probable

2022 - 2023

Medium Confidence

The measure proposes to provide a monthly unemployment insurance benefit equivalent to a certain percentage of an employee’s base pay for three months to members who were involuntarily separated from their job.

For members who were laid off from their jobs, Senate Bill 133 seeks to provide an unemployment insurance benefit per month that is equivalent to 50 percent of an employee’s base pay for three months. Meanwhile, House Bill 490, which is more detailed compared to its Senate counterpart, seeks to provide a monthly unemployment insurance benefit equivalent to 80 percent of an employee’s base pay for three months to members who were involuntarily separated from their job.

The bill also proposes the creation of a Philippine Job Insurance Corporation (PhilJobs) that would administer and implement the National Unemployment Insurance Program (NUIP). It states that members of the Social Security System (SSS) and Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) are automatically covered by the program, while workers who are not members of either system will be encouraged to join the program through incentives. As such, the national government as well as members and their employers will be required to equally share compulsory premium contributions to the fund, which shall not exceed 1.5 percent of the members’ monthly salary. This potentially translates into another mandatory contribution for employers and employees, apart from the existing SSS or GSIS, Pag-IBIG, and PhilHealth contributions, among others. Analysts also note that there are other measures that propose to widen the SSS’ coverage for the provision of unemployment benefits, such as SB 1075 and HB 3864.

The future of this measure in both the House and the Senate remains unclear since the administration appears to be supporting a related measure that seeks to expand the national employment plan instead of creating an additional governmental body such as the PhilJobs.

Last year, the Marcos Jr. administration identified on July 5 the creation of a national action plan as one of the priority bills in its common legislative agenda that are targeted to be passed by the end of 2023. Prior to this, Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva disclosed to the press that President Marcos Jr. supports a measure that seeks to expand the National Employment Recovery Strategy (NERS) to create decent jobs for all Filipinos, improve the employability and competencies of the workforce, and provide support to businesses to ensure the security of employment. Meanwhile at the House level, at least two measures that seek to establish a National Employment Master Plan were also filed.

In related news to the measure, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., in his capacity as chair of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board, approved the body’s proposal to enhance the country’s social protection services, including the government’s existing unemployment insurance. In a palace briefing on April 20, 2023, NEDA Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said that the NEDA Board recently approved the proposal to institutionalize social protection programs or guarantees “to provide protection to individuals and families in times of need.” The proposal, identified as the Social Protection Floor, shall cover the full implementation of Universal Health Care; access to child nutrition, education, and care; support for Filipinos with insufficient earnings including providing emergency employment and enhancing the existing unemployment insurance; as well as social pension for senior citizens.

As of early 2024, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), through a recent study entitled “Towards Greener and More Inclusive Societies in Southeast Asia,” urged the Philippines to speed up the process of enacting an unemployment insurance program. The OECD’s recommendation comes from the fact that the country has become increasingly vulnerable to the impact of climate change. With 11.5 million or 27.1 percent of workers in environmentally-linked sectors, it is essential to increase worker protection as part of strengthening social protection.

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