Our company started its operations in 2009 but it only began deducting SSS, PhilHealth and Pag-IBIG contributions from our salaries in 2010. I brought this matter to our Human Resources department, together with some of my officemates, and we were told that they will fix the issue.
Until now, we think they have not done anything about our concern. We sought assistance from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) about this and we were advised to try sorting things out with our employer. If they still do not give us favorable update or if we find out that they really did not pay our contributions, can we proceed with filing a complaint before the Labor Arbiter of the DOLE? Please advise us on what to do. Thank you and more power.
Under the law, Labor Arbiters only have the original and exclusive jurisdiction over the following cases: (1) Unfair labor practice cases; (2) Termination disputes; (3) If accompanied with a claim for reinstatement, those cases that workers may file involving wages, rates of pay, hours of work and other terms and conditions of employment; (4) Claims for actual, moral, exemplary and other forms of damages arising from the employer-employee relations; (5) Cases arising from any violation of Article 264 of this Code, including questions involving the legality of strikes and lockouts; (6) Except claims for employees compensation, social security, Medicare and maternity benefits, all other claims arising from employer-employee relations, including those of persons in domestic or household service involving an amount exceeding Five thousand pesos (P5,000), whether or not accompanied with a claim for reinstatement (Article 217 as amended by Section 9, Republic Act or RA 6715); (7) Wage distortion disputes in unorganized establishments not voluntarily settled by the parties (RA 6727); (8) Enforcement of compromise agreements when there is non-compliance by any of the parties pursuant to Article 227 of the Labor Code, as amended; (9) Money claims arising out of employer-employee relationship or by virtue of any law or contract, involving Filipino workers for overseas deployment, including claims for actual, moral, exemplary and other forms of damages as provided by Section 10 of RA 8042, as amended by RA 10022; and (10) Such other cases as may be provided by law.
Applying the foregoing, we submit that filing of a complaint before the Labor Arbiter is not the proper remedy for you and your co-workers to avail of. Nevertheless, you may pursue separate complaints against your employer before the Social Security System, PhilHealth and Pag-IBIG. According to Section 28 of RA 8282 or the Social Security Law: “(e) Whoever fails or refuses to comply with the provisions of this Act or with the rules and regulations promulgated by the[system], shall be punished by a fine of not less than Five thousand pesos (P5,000.00) nor more than Twenty thousand pesos (P20,000.00), or imprisonment for not less than six (6) years and one (1) day nor more than twelve (12) years or both, at the discretion of the court: x x x”
PhilHealth can impose a penalty of fine not less than Five Hundred Pesos (P500.00) but not more than One Thousand Pesos (P1,000.00) multiplied by the total number of employees employed by them and imprisonment of not less than six (6) months but not more than one (1) year to employers who fail or refuse to deduct contributions from the employee’s compensation or to remit the same to the Corporation. (Section 44, RA 7875 or the National Health Insurance Act of 1995)
Lastly, under Section 25 of RA 9679 or the Home Development Mutual Fund Law of 2009, the employer who fails to remit contributions without lawful cause or with fraudulent intent may be penalized with imprisonment of not more than six (6) years and/or a fine of not less than but not more than twice the amount involved.
We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org