The Employees’ Compensation Commission (ECC) is a quasi-judicial corporate entity created to implement the Employees’ Compensation Program (ECP). It is mandated by law to provide meaningful and appropriate compensation to public and private sector employees and their dependents in the event of work-connected contingencies such as sickness, injury, disability, or death. It serves the Filipino workers by formulating policies and guidelines for the improvement of the ECP; reviewing and deciding on appeal all EC claims disapproved by the Social Security System (SSS) and the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS); and initiating policies and programs toward adequate occupational health and safety and accident prevention in the working environment.

The Employees’ Compensation Program (ECP)

The ECP is a social insurance program designed to provide workers with protection from income loss as a result of work-connected sickness, disability, or death. It covers both private and public sector workers with employer-employee relationship. The Social Security System (SSS) administers the ECP for private sector while the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) administers the ECP for state workers including uniformed personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP), Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), and Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), members of the judiciary and constitutional commissions.

It provides not only income security but other critical services during a trying moment in an individual’s lifecycle. As a key social protection program in the Philippines, it contributes in the over-all effort to prevent or alleviate poverty, vulnerability, and social exclusion towards improving the quality of life of workers and their families as part of our roadmap to achieving decent work and competitiveness.

P944M worth of EC benefits paid from January to September 2015

The Employees’ Compensation Program State Insurance Fund paid P944 million worth of benefits to employees of the private sector and government who met work-related sickness, injury and death, through its administering agencies, the Social Security System (SSS) and the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS).

The EC benefits granted for the first three quarters of 2015 by the SSS amounted to P817.97 million for the payment of 186,822 claims. The bulk of payments is for death pension benefit claims which totalled to P638.31 million. Other benefit payments included sickness benefits which reached P77.68 million, P83.067 million for disability benefits, P11.90 million for medical services, P6.17 million for funeral benefits and P851,865 for rehabilitation services.

Overall, the benefits released to the private sector employees were up by 7% from P763.823 million in the same period in 2014.

On the other hand, GSIS granted a total of P126.17 million EC benefits for 21,988 claims from public sector employees, an increase by 24%compared to the first 3 quarters of 2014.

Sickness benefits granted amounted to P1.214 million; disability benefits, P8.308 million; medical services, P9.183 million; funeral benefit claims were worth P1.511 million; and rehabilitation services worth P52,954. Claims for survivorship benefits comprised the biggest amount at P105.902 million.

The increase in the amount of EC benefits to public and private sector workers was expected because of the series of increase of EC benefits from 2012 until 2015 and incessant promotion of the ECP among government employees, including the uniformed personnel from the Philippine National Police (PNP), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) and Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP).

Survivorship benefits comprised the highest share or 79% of the total benefits disbursement in the EC benefit payments made both by the SSS and by the GSIS.

The EC-SIF available for payment of future EC claims in both private and public sector amounts to P49.69 billion as of September 30, 2015.

On Policy Development
A review of EC benefits have been made in 2015 where six Board Resolutions on increases in EC benefits were approved. Most of the benefits have not been reviewed or increased since the 1990’s.

Equalized Benefits
Adopting a Uniform Schedule of Reimbursement Rates for Laboratory, X-Ray and other Diagnostic Examinations under the Medical Services Policy of the Employees’ Compensation Program. (For approval by the OP)

Enhanced Benefits
Enhancement of EC benefits is critical towards our goal of having adequate income security for our beneficiaries. Following the equalization of a number of benefits in the past 4 years, the ECC has embarked on further enhancing these.

1. Approving a Ten Percent (10%) Across-the-Board Increase in EC Pension Effective May 1, 2015 for the Public Sector; Guidelines in the Implementation of Executive Order 188 (“Imposing a Ten Percent (10%) Across-the Board Increase in EC Pension for Employees in the Public Sector”)

2. Approving the Adoption of the Manner of Computing SS Pension under the SS Law, Particularly the Pension Formula and the Definitions of AMSC and CYS, in the Prospective Computation of EC Pension

3. Declaring the Compensability of Injuries Sustained by Employees at Places of Recreation within the Employer’s Premises

4. Approving the Increase in EC Temporary Total Disability (TTD) Benefit for the Private Sector from a Minimum Daily Income Benefit of Php 10.00 to PHP 110.00 and from a Maximum Daily Income Benefit of Php 200.00 to an amount Computed Based on the Highest Possible Total Monthly Salary Credit as per SSS Law or Php 480.00 (for approval by OP)

5. Revising the Conditions for the Compensability of Hernia under Annex A of the Amended Rules on Employees’ Compensation (EC)

Enhanced Services. The Board also ensured that EC services were enhanced to ensure accessibility of benefits.

1. Directing the Systems to Facilitate the Immediate Processing and Release of EC Benefits for the PNP-Special Action Force (SAF) Troopers in the Mamasapano Incident and the Victims of the Fire Incident at Kentex Manufacturing Corporation

2. Approving the Process Cycle Time (PCT) for Processing the Claims for Employees’ Compensation at the GSIS and SSS

3. Directing the Systems to Adopt a System of Paying EC Medical Benefit for Dialysis of Persons with Work-Related Disabilities (PWRDs) Taking Into Consideration Their Philhealth Coverage

Significantly, the process cycle time (PCT) of disposition of EC appealed cases from 40 working days to 20 working days.

Expanded Benefits
Before the end of 2015, the Board approved in principle the coverage of self-employed SSS members under the employees’ compensation program. This policy is expected to be a milestone contribution in the government’s efforts to address social exclusion in the provision of social protection. The detailed promulgation on this is intended to be issued and implemented in 2016.

ECC’s Corporate Social Responsibility:
The Occupationally-Disabled Workers’ Association of the Philippines, Inc. (ODWAPI)
Extending a helping hand to Persons with Work Related Disabilities (PWRDs) beyond the usual compensation and rehabilitation services, the ECC helped facilitate the organization of the Occupationally-Disabled Workers’ Association of the Philippines, Inc. (ODWAPI).

Established in March 2012 by persons with work-related disabilities (PWRDs) who benefitted from the ECC’s Katulong at Gabay ng Manggagawang May Kapansanan, or KaGabay Program, the ODWAPI is the first of its kind to be recognized by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA) as a duly registered association of PWRDs. It aims to empower its member-PWRDs by making them self-sufficient using the livelihood and entrepreneurship skills they also acquired through the KaGabay Program and DOLE livelihood programs.

With 300 active members, the ODWAPI was able to maintain two income generating projects. Through the livelihood assistance grant from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), they were able to put a store in Southwest Integrated Provincial Transport Terminal and another one located within the ECC compound in Makati.

In 2015, the ODWAPI was able to extend its reach in other regions in the country. ODWAPI in Iloilo, Zamboanga, and in Benguet were established with the similar aim of encouraging and motivating each member to harness the skills they acquired from ECC, DOLE and other government agencies and to optimally utilize the resources shared to them.

Consistent Reform Agenda
As an attached agency of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the ECC is committed to develop and implement relevant policies to strengthen social protection for both private and public sector workers by ensuring access to adequate and quality social security services.

This strategic goal is consistent with the President Benigno S. Aquino administration’s 22-point Labor and Employment Agenda to enhance social protection such as social security and workmen’s compensation to make it adequate as an income security program. The goal is also guided by the Philippine National Social Protection Framework’s, particularly the component on social insurance, and consistent with the national goal of the Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016 on poverty reduction and inclusive growth.

For 2015, the ECC continued its pursuit for reform, which started in 2011, with the aim of providing adequate and fair EC benefits. These reforms are guided by actuarial studies and the condition that increases in benefits will not require any increase in contribution and has to be approved by the President.

With different administering agencies for private and public employees, different amount of premium contributions, as well as number of target clients, the ECP is bound to have different amounts of benefits. As far as practicable, the ECC reviews and updates old policies to address disparity in benefits.

On the other hand, to enhance existing benefits, the ECC reviews existing benefits to determine its adequacy as an income replacement, taking into consideration several factors such as minimum wage and per capita or family poverty thresholds.

The ECC is likewise committed to develop new benefits or programs benchmarking on the good practices of other insurance programs both locally and in other countries. This includes the pursuance of coverage of self-employed SSS members under the EC Program, and provide adoption of availing EC benefits through hospital billing and case rate systems.