Good news for all the employees of small businesses affected by the enhanced community quarantine. The government launches a program called Small Business Wage Subsidy (SBWS) which provides financial assistance amounting to P5,000 to P8,000/month to all eligible employees of small businesses.
What is the Small Business Wage Subsidy (SBWS)?
The Small Business Wage Subsidy is a wage subsidy program of the government to more than 3.4 million employees and 1.5 million small businesses affected by the Corona Virus crisis in the Philippines.
The program aims to help qualified employees of small businesses who are not able to report for work due to quarantine and also for the small business itself to retain its employees.
How much is the subsidy for the wage subsidy program?
The eligible employees will receive an amount of 5k-8k depending on the regional minimum wage. There will be a total of a P51 billion budget for this program. The aid will be given for up to two months. It’s the employers who will need to apply on behalf of his/her employees.
Who are eligible to apply?
As mentioned earlier, applications will be completed by the employer on behalf of their employees through My.SSS account.
To be able to qualify, business must meet these two criteria:
- Size of business: It should be a small business — whether a corporation, partnership, or sole proprietorship. It must not be in the BIR’s Large Taxpayer Service (LTS) list.
- Small businesses that are forced to close or stop their operation because of the quarantine and businesses that are allowed to operate a skeleton force can apply for the wage subsidy for employees who are not able to work and did not get paid during the ECQ.
Priorities will be given to those that have been compliant with the regulations of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and SSS.
- an employee of an eligible small business
- employed and active as of March 1, 2020, but unable to work due to the ECQ
- employees who were not able to receive their salary from the employer for at least two weeks during the temporary closure or suspension of work in accordance with Labor Advisory No. 1, Series of 2020
- Can be of any contract status (e.g., regular, probationary, regular seasonal, project-based, fixed-term)
- Must be certified by the employer in the application as having met all the above criteria
- Working from home or part of the skeleton force
- employees who are on voluntarily leave on the whole duration of ECQ – maternity leave, paternity leave, study leave, sabbatical leave, and leaves of the same type –whether with or without pay
- Already a recipient of SSS unemployment benefits due to COVID-19, to avoid duplication
- Those who have settled or in-process SSS final claims (funeral, retirement, death, and total disability)
Application Process for Employers
The employer should check first on the BIR website if he is included in the pre-qualified list of SBWS. Visit www.bir.gov.ph and click on the SBWS icon on the BIR homepage. You can follow the procedure below.
The employer should also need to have a My.SSS account, if none he/she should register to it first.
- Visit the SSS website and sign in to My. SSS account.
- Click the Small Business Wage Subsidy Menu tab and enter your passcode and Tin Number. The passcode is given in the BIR website upon checking if your business is qualified or not.
- After a successful log-in, SSS will show the list of employees. The employer will then tick the box of eligible employees. if the employee is not on the SSS list, it means that the employee has not yet registered with the My.SSS facility or they have lacking data or information in the My.SSS account.
- Once the employer finishes checking all the eligible employees, he/she must check the box that he/she agreed on the terms and conditions. Click the Employers undertaking to read and understand the terms.
- The employers must then submit any of the listed supporting documents certifying the employees’ work and stay status. They can submit it to the email SBWSCertifications@sss.gov.ph.
- The SSS will then check and validate the employees who are qualified. SSS will send an email to the employers whose employees are qualified or disqualified and those who lack documents.
- The SSS will disburse the subsidy in the following payment channels: SSS UMID cards, PESOnet, employee’s Union Bank Quick Card, PayMaya or cash pick-up arrangement through remittance transfer companies.
Deadline of Application
Application Dates will be from April 16,2020 until April 30, 2020.
Update: Deadline of submission is extended until May 8, 2020.
First Tranche of payout is on May 1-15,2020, while the second tranche will be from May 16-31.
You can send an email to BIR at SBWS_BIRquery@bir.gov.ph with the following information:
Registered Name or Business Name
Revenue District Office (RDO) where registered
FOR SSS INQUIRIES:
Source: DOF website