Sugar industry workers to get additional benefits

Mayen Jaymalin - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – After two decades, workers in the sugar industry are finally getting additional benefits.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said over the weekend that workers in the sugar sector would receive additional cash for maternity and death benefits.

Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz issued an order increasing the maternity and death benefits of the workers by P3,000.

“The cash benefit for maternity has been increased from P2,000 to P5,000 and the death from P7,000 to P10,000,” Baldoz said.

She said the financial benefits are on top of the existing assistance granted by law such as those from the Social Security System (SSS), PhilHealth or collective bargaining agreement.

The labor department amended the guidelines for the implementation of the Social Ameloriation Program, noting the benefits of sugar industry workers have eroded over the years and is no longer sufficient to cope with the existing standard of living.

Baldoz said the last increase in the maternity and death benefits for sugar workers was in 1996 and 2001, respectively.

She said the increase is part of the government’s efforts to reduce child mortality and provide decent burial to a deceased worker.

Under the Sugar Workers Maternity Benefit Program, cash benefit is given to a female worker for every childbirth or therapeutic abortion. 

To be qualified, a claimant must have rendered at least 90 days of continuous service during the current or the last crop year immediately prior to delivery.  

The death benefit is given to the beneficiaries of a deceased worker who has rendered at least three months of continuous service within the current or last crop year immediately prior to his or her death.

Data showed about 3,000 and 2,000 workers annually avail themselves of the maternity and death benefits, respectively.  

Baldoz said qualified applicants should coordinate with the nearest DOLE provincial office regarding the details of the benefits.

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