In an Advisory issued on 2 June 2020, the Social Security System (SSS) announced the requirement to refund or return the Small Business Wage Subsidy (SBWS) received by employees under certain instances, discussed below. The directive is based on the SBWS Program Task Force Resolution No. 2. The instances when the refund/return is required, and the procedure for the refund, are discussed below.
WHO ARE REQUIRED TO REIMBURSE
The following are required to refund or reimburse the amount disbursed by the SSS under the SBWS program:
- 1. Employers who fail to maintain the employment status of their employee-beneficiaries within the original SBWS period, from 17 March 2020 to 31 May 2020. [Note: That is a reproduction of the SSS Advisory. The text of Resolution No. 2, however, provides that the return policy covers employers who “failed to maintain the employment status of all employee beneficiaries before the ECQ and other forms thereof and throughout the SBWS.”]
- 2. Employee-beneficiaries who resign during the period when enhanced community quarantine, modified enhanced community quarantine, or general community quarantine, is imposed in the region or local government unit where the place of business of his/her employer is found. [Note: The full text of Resolution No. 2 reads: “Employees who resigned during the period of ECQ and other forms thereof imposed in Luzon and other parts of the country shall return to the government the amount of wage granted.”]
- 3. Employers who misrepresented in their application any material fact relevant to the eligibility of their employees.
Voluntary return of the amount received under the SBWS program shall be accepted until 15 June 2020. Payment is to be made at the nearest Landbank branch; over-the-counter deposit to the Bureau of Treasury (BTr) bank account with the following details:
- Land Bank Account Number: 0012-1188-80
- Account Name: Refund of Small Business Wage Subsidy
Upon deposit of the subsidy amount, the employer or employee must submit the scanned copy of the validated deposit slip to the SSS by email at SBWSSreturns@sss.gov.ph with the following information:
- 1. Name of employer and SSS ID number
- 2. Name(s) of employees(s)
- 3. SSS number and amount deposited for each employee
- 4. Reason for the return
- 5. Total amount deposited
- 6. Date and time of deposit
- 1. Name of employee and SSS number
- 2. Name of employer and SSS ID number if known
- 3. Reason for the return
- 4. Date and time of deposit
Upon determination by the Commission on Audit during its post-audit of the SBWS Program that an employer or an employee committed an act on the ground of which an employer or employee is deemed liable to return to the government the amount of wage subsidy granted, or upon discovery of fraud by the DOF, SSS or BIR, a letter shall be issued by the SBWS Program Task Force demanding the return of the said subsidy within fifteen (15) calendar days from receipt thereof.
The non-compliance with the demand for return within the prescribed period shall be basis for the filing of criminal and/or civil action, whichever is appropriate.
[For more details on the return policy, refer to the full text of Resolution No. 2. On the other hand, for those who are eligible but was not covered, see the Grievance Procedure under Resolution No. 4. Refer to the guidelines on non-duplication of SBWS, CAMP and SAP benefits under JMC 2-2020.]