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Gatchalian to pursue measures giving additional benefits to workers

Senator Win Gatchalian vowed to pursue measures institutionalizing tax cuts for work-from-home employees, additional benefits to construction workers, and condoning penalties for unpaid Social Security System (SSS) contributions of household employers.


PASAY CITY, Philippines – Filipino construction workers aboard a truck on their way to work, 16 Nov 2018. Photo by Mark Cayabyab/OS WIN GATCHALIAN

Aside from the usual wage increases, additional benefits in the form of insurance packages, tax deductions, and social insurance coverage will help alleviate the financial concerns of workers, particularly those daily wage earners, the re-electionist senator said.

With telecommuting being the new normal, Gatchalian stressed the need to legislate tax deductions on employees working from home to cushion the blow on additional expenses such as surge in electricity, internet connectivity bills, and other work-related expenses.

Senate Bill No. 1706, which Gatchalian co-authored, proposes a reduction of P25.00 from the taxable income for every hour of work of telecommuting employees to increase their net pay and the legislation of allowances or other benefits not exceeding P2,000 per month granted by their employers as non-taxable benefits.

“Sa pambihirang krisis tulad ng pandemya, namulat tayo sa mga makabagong pamamaraan ng paghahanap-buhay. Malaki ang tulong ng panukalang batas sa ganitong mga panahon ng kagipitan upang mapawi ang mga alalahanin sa pang-araw-araw na mga bayarin,” Gatchalian said.

As the country’s construction sector is expected to rebound driven by improved economic conditions, Gatchalian pressed the need to legislate a measure mandating an accident and life insurance coverage for construction workers.

In Gatchalian’s Senate Bill No. 741 or the Construction Workers Insurance Act, all workers employed in a construction project or site shall be provided a group personal accident insurance coverage by the employer. The duration of the insurance shall start from the commencement of the service of the worker until the completion of the project or upon the termination of the employment contract.

“The insurance coverage shall compensate a reasonable amount for an accident that will cause the disability or death of the worker. This may not completely erase the pain but it surely will not hurt to alleviate the loss,” Gatchalian said.

He also filed Senate Bill 744 providing for the condonation of penalties for unpaid SSS contributions of household employers relative to RA 7655 and RA 10361, also known as the Domestic Workers Act or Batas Kasambahay.

“The intent of this bill is to make a prospective application of the law while at the same time afford the kasambahay the benefit and mantle of protection which the social insurance extends,” he said.

“The fundamental precept of social justice is that ‘those who have less in life must have more in law.’ Kung mapapalawig natin ang mga benepisyo ng mga manggagawa, maiaangat natin ang antas ng kanilang pamumuhay,” Gatchalian said.