Social Security System increases contribution rates effective April 2019; implements condonation program



In this Issue:


Holiday Notice
Social Security System increases contribution rates effective April 2019;  implements condonation program
Supreme Court denies claim of crew who was injured while working out in the ships’ gym

Philippine Shipping Update – Manning Industry

By:  Ruben Del Rosario, President, Del Rosario Pandiphil Inc., 2 April 2019 (Issue 2019/04)

Holiday Notice: Our offices will be closed on Tuesday, 9 April 2019 (The Day of Valor). We will also be closed from Thursday, 18 April 2019 to Sunday 21 April 2019 for the Easter Holidays.  Emails will be monitored but for urgent matters, please call our 24/7 mobile +63 917 8308384.
Social Security System increases contribution rates effective April 2019; implements condonation program
The Social Security Act of 2018 which became effective on 5 March 2019 increased the monthly contribution rate to 12% from the previous 11%.  This increase will be followed by three more 1-percentage point increases in 2021, 2023 and 2025 until the contribution rate will be 15%  The maximum monthly salary credit from which the contribution is based was likewise increased to PHP20,000 for the years 2019 - 2020, PHP25,000 for the years 2021 - 2022, PHP30,000 for the years 2023 - 2024 and PHP35,000 starting 2025.
The adjustments, which include sea-based Overseas Filipino Workers, will be implemented starting April 2019 per the Social Security System Circular No. 2019-007 issued on 15 March 2019.
Moreover, the same law has provided a condonation program which delinquent employers can apply for until 5 September 2019. Under SSS Circular No. 2019-004 dated 15 March 2019, any employer who is delinquent or has not remitted all contributions may avail of the condonation program. This includes employers who are not yet registered with the SSS and those against whom final judgments have been rendered by the courts for non-payment of contributions. The condonation applies only to penalties on unremitted contributions up to January 2019.
To view the SSS Circular, click here Social Security System Circular No. 2019-007
Supreme Court denies claim of crew who was injured while working out in the ship’s gym
The seafarer was engaged as a Casino Dealer on-board the ship.  During his break, the crew decided to workout in the ship’s gym where he sustained lumbar injury.  The crew alleged that this injury was aggravated by an earlier injury he sustained when he was assisting an elderly passenger in a wheelchair and lost his balance.  While the crew was undergoing treatment with the company-designated physician, he sought the opinion of his chosen doctor who declared him unfit for sea service in any capacity as a seafarer.  On the strength of such opinion, he filed a claim for disability benefits against the company.    
The company denied the claim on the basis that the injury sustained by the crew was not related to his work as a casino dealer.
The Labor Arbiter granted the claim of the crew and held that the company will not be released from liability even if the injury was due to a gym incident.  On the other hand, the NLRC dismissed the claim as the injury is not work-related which ruling the Court of Appeals sustained.
The claim was still denied upon reaching the Supreme Court.
The Court held that for disability to be compensable, two elements must concur: (1) the injury or illness must be work-related; and (2) the work-related injury or illness must have existed during the term of the seafarer's employment contract.  Work-related injury pertains to an injury resulting in disability or death arising out of, and in the course of, employment. Jurisprudence explains that the words "arising out of” refer to the origin or cause of the accident, and are descriptive of its character, while the words "in the course of refer to the time, place, and circumstances under which the accident takes place. As a matter of general proposition, an injury or accident is said to arise "in the course of employment" when it takes place within the period of the employment, at a place where the employee reasonably may be, and while he is fulfilling his duties or is engaged in doing something incidental thereto.
Work-relatedness of an injury or illness means that the seafarer's injury or illness has a possible connection to one's work, and thus, allows the seafarer to claim disability benefits therefor. The rule is that whoever claims entitlement to the benefits provided by law should establish his or her right thereto by substantial evidence. Thus, the burden is placed upon the crew to present substantial evidence, or such relevant evidence which a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to justify a conclusion that there is a causal connection between the nature of his employment and his injury.
In this case, the crew failed to prove a reasonable connection between his work as a Casino Dealer and his alleged lumbar disc injury.  Apart from his bare allegation that he sustained a previous injury while assisting an elderly passenger on a wheelchair, no other competent and independent evidence was presented to substantiate and to corroborate said claim.
On the other hand, the company was able to expose the falsity of the crew’s story when they submitted in evidence the Crew Injury Statement, prepared entirely in the handwriting of the crew which contained his admission to the effect that the subject injury resulted from his gym workout.  The occurrence of the aforesaid incident was confirmed in a document denominated as Personal Injury Illness Statement.
Said documents would prove that the crew’s strenuous physical activity consisting of frequent bending and improper lifting of heavy objects during his routine workout at the ship’s gym produced extreme torsional stress on his back which caused his subject injury. As correctly contended by the company, there is nothing in the Job Description Manual which state that part of the crew’s duty as a Casino Dealer is to go to the crew gym and use its facility for his physical workout.  As such, the crew failed to prove work-causation of the subject injury.
J. G. vs. Philippine Transmarine Carriers, Inc., Celebrity Cruises et. al, G.R. No. 222523, October 3, 2018, Third Division, Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta, ponente (Attys. Catherine Mangahas and Jonathan Vinarao of DelRosarioLaw handled for vessel interests)

Areas of Specialization: Shipping, Labour, Transport, Corporate, Mergers & Acquisitions, Insurance, Immigration, Litigation, Arbitration, Intellectual Property
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TheAsia Business Law Journal has named Managing Partners Arturo Del Rosario, Jr. and Ruben Del Rosario and Senior Partner Joseph Rebano as one of the Philippines Top 100 Lawyers in their recently published list.

The Top 100 list of lawyers can be accessed as follows:


DelRosarioLaw welcomes Ruben Jose G. Del Rosario Jr., as a Junior Associate of the firm. He is a 2011 Bachelor of Science in Management, Major in Legal Management graduate of Ateneo de Manila and a 2017 Bachelor of Laws graduate of San Beda College - Alabang.


Partner Charles Dela Cruz spoke on "Nuances of Retirement Law in the Philippines" at the 2nd HR Compliance Conference held on September 25-26, 2018 at SMX Aura Convention in Bonifacio Global City.


Partners Charles Dela Cruz and Herbert Tria spoke on “Current Crew Claims Handling Issues related to the Data Privacy Act” at the 7th Annual Magsaysay Shipping and Logistics’ Marine Insurance Seminar held on 21 September 2018 at Robert Hall, Times Plaza Building, Manila.


DelRosarioLaw Senior Partner Charles Jay Dela Cruz was elected as member of the Board of Trustees of the Philippine Bar Association (PBA) for the term 2018-2019.



  • IRR Seafarer's Protection Act
  • Seafarers Protection Act
  • ORDINANCE No. 28 Series of 2015 Zambales, Philippines
  • NLRC MEMO on 3rd Doctor
  • NLRC Rules of Procedure 2011
  • Standard Terms and Conditions of Del Rosario Law
  • POEA SEC - 2010 Amendments
  • POEA Memorandum Circular No. 10 Series of 2010
  • Governing Board Resolution No. 09 Series of 2010

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