Qualifications for Small Business Wage Subsidy (SBWS) Program

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As a result of unprecedented economic crisis, jobs of millions of Filipino workers were compromised resulting to no paycheck being received by the majority. You’re lucky if you’re still part of a work from home or skeletal work schedule.

To receive cash relief from our national government will be a big help to Filipino people. The government however is doing its best to feed its people through implementation of programs despite of low collection of taxes for the first 4 months of the year 2020.

To complement the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) in the “Bayanihan To Heal As One Act,” the Duterte administration with the program “Small Business Wage Subsidy,” will give incentives to small business owners.

According to the Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez, the national government has allotted almost P51 billion subsidy for employees of small businesses. Qualified beneficiaries will be given worth P5,000 to P8,000 each wage subsidy depending on the monthly minimum wage per region. This amount will be given in two tranches. First tranche was announced to be released from May 1-15 and the second tranche will be given from May 16-31 depending on the expected lifting of ECQ.

To qualify as beneficiary of the SBWS program, employers must meet two eligibility criteria, first is the size of the business (which must be small business) and enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) impact on operations (caused temporary closure or suspension of work.) Although the small businesses have met both criteria, the program will still prioritize those that are compliant with their BIR and SSS obligations for the past three years, up to January 2020.

The other way around, employees should also meet these criteria: must be an employee of an eligible small business, must be employed and active as of March 1, 2020 but unable to work due to 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 in any contract status, and must be certified by the employer in the application as having met all the criteria.

In the same manner of applying for COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP), qualified employers need to accomplish an application online in behalf of their employees. The deadline of application of the said program was initially announced and set as April 30, 2020 but then moved to May 8, 2020.

At the end of the day, the only reason why these programs were made is to help the Filipino people ease the hardship being brought by this pandemic.