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The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), as Chair of the Sugar Tripartite Council (STC), sets new amounts for maternity and death benefit claims of sugar workers under the Sugar Workers’ Maternity and Death Benefit Program (SWMDBP).

On May 19, 2022, Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III signed Department Order No. 236, s. 2022 which provides an increase from ₱5,000.00 to ₱8,000.00 for maternity benefit claims, while death benefit claims from ₱10,000.00 to ₱14,000.00.

The Department, along with the STC – which is composed of representatives from the management and workers’ sectors, recognizes that the pandemic brought economic shocks and struggles to the sugar workers, thus the increase in the amounts of their benefits will likely augment the rising cost of commodities and services.

“I hope that with the approval of the new Department Order, more sugar workers will be encouraged to avail of the program,” Bello said.

He added that the DOLE aims to provide social protection for all workers, especially for those from one of the most vulnerable sectors – the sugar workers.

Under the Sugar Workers Maternity Benefit Program, the cash assistance is given to woman sugar workers for up to four deliveries, or therapeutic abortion, miscarriage, and emergency termination of pregnancy. To be qualified, the claimant must have rendered 90 days of continuous or aggregate service during the crop year or the last crop year prior to such delivery.

On the other hand, under the Sugar Workers Death Benefit Program, the cash benefit is given to the beneficiaries of the deceased sugar workers who have rendered at least 3 months of continuous or aggregate service during the crop year or the last crop year prior to death.

The assistance is in addition to the existing legislated social protection benefits like the Social Security System (SSS) or PhilHealth, or any collective bargaining agreements.

The Department Order 236-22 will cover pregnancies or fatalities that occurred from the date of effectivity onwards and shall take effect 15 days after publication in a newspaper of general circulation or the Official Gazette.

 

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