The government has rolled out another subsidy program — between P5,000 to P8,000 (based on the region) — per month per eligible employee. The Department of Finance (DOF) recently announced Small Business Wage Subsidy (SBWS) program. The SBWS measure will be rolled out through the Social Security System (SSS), which will only be accepting applications from 16 April 2020 to 30 April 2020 [Note: Extended by the DOF to 8 May 2020, in the light of the extension of the ECQ to May 15.]
Applications will be completed by the employer on behalf of their employees.
First tranche of payout is from 1-15 May 2020. Second tranche of payout is from 16-31 May 2020. The schedule may change depending on the timing of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
The SBWS is separate from the COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP) implemented by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). However, employees who have received a subsidy under the CAMP shall be eligible for only the first month of the SBWS to avoid duplication.
I. ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
The business must meet two eligibility criteria: size of business and impact of the ECQ on the small business’ operations. The small business must meet both criteria.
i. Size of business: The small business — whether a corporation, partnership, or sole proprietorship — must not be in the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s (BIR) Large Taxpayer Service (LTS) list.
ii. Impact of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ): Small businesses under both Category A (non-essentials) that are forced to stop operations (i.e., temporary closure or suspension of work) and Category B (quasi-essentials) 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.
Employers in areas where other forms of quarantine have been put in place by the LGU may also qualify.
Category A: Non-essentials
- Non-food raw materials/ Non-essential manufacturing
- Non-essential services
- Hotels and restaurants
- Rental and leasing of personal goods
Category B: Quasi-essentials
- Textiles, wearables, and leather for export
- Electronics manufacturing
- Retail trade
- Public transportation / trucking and cargo handling (food and non-food)
- Business process outsourcing
- Personal service and domestic activities (salons, laundry, funeral, domestic help, others)
Priority. Businesses that have been compliant with the regulations of the BIR and SSS will be prioritized.
- 1. BIR-registered and complying with tax obligations during the past three years, up to January 2020.
- 2. SSS-registered and have paid SSS contributions for the past three years up to January 2020 (the last recorded contribution).
II. ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA FOR EMPLOYEES
An employee who fulfills ALL of the following criteria is eligible:
- Must be an employee of the eligible small business.
- Must be employed and active as of 1 March 2020 but unable to work due to the ECQ.
- Did not get paid by their 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.
Priority. Priority will be given to employees that are BIR and SSS-registered and compliant with SSS and BIR regulations.
Disqualifications. The following employees are not eligible:
- Working from home or part of the skeleton force.
- On leave for the entire duration of the ECQ, whether with or without pay.
- Already a recipient of SSS unemployment benefits, to avoid duplication.
- Those who have settled or in-process SSS final claims (funeral, retirement, death, and total disability)
III. CONDITIONS TO AVAIL OF THE PROGRAM
To qualify for the program, the following conditions must be fulfilled:
- 1. Small businesses must maintain the employment status of all eligible employee beneficiaries before the ECQ and throughout the SBWS period. This will be checked during the monitoring and evaluation stage. Non-compliance with this condition shall result in the employer refunding to the government the wage subsidy amount.
- 2. Employees cannot resign during the ECQ period.
IV. SALARY SUBSIDY AMOUNT
All eligible employees of eligible small businesses shall be given a wage subsidy of P5,000 to P8,000 per month (depending on their region of work) for up to two months, depending on the extent of the ECQ.
- NCR – P8,0000 monthly wage subsidy per worker
- CAR – P5,500
- Region 1 – P5,500
- Region 2 – P5,500
- Region 3 – P8,000
- Region 4A – P8,000
- Region 4B – P5,000
- Region 5 – P5,000
- Region 6 – P6,000
- Region 7 – P6,000
- Region 8 – P5,000
- Region 9 – P5,000
- Region 10 – P6,000
- Region 11 – P6,000
- Region 12 – P5,000
- CARAGA – P5,000
- ARMM – P5,000
V. MODES OF PAYMENT
- 1. Withdrawal via employee’s SSS UMID cards enrolled as ATM.
- 2. Withdrawal from employee’s bank account for PESOnet participating banks.
- 3. Employee’s Union Bank Quick Card (partnership with SSS).
- 4. Employee’s E-wallet: PayMaya
- 5. Cash pick-up arrangements through remittance transfer companies.
VI. INQUIRIES ON PRE-QUALIFICATIONS
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:
Call Center: 1455 Toll Free: 1-800-10-2255777