The close to 1,200 signatures collected via a petition launched on Friday by several members of the Senate will be presented to the Senate leadership to consider passing a law that will reinstate the  old Social Security Contribution rate and put back the $6000 per quarter cap on the maximum remuneration amount subject to Social Security deduction.

[restrict]

The signature campaign was launched on Friday until Sunday with the petition seeking removal in the   changes to Social Security rate for both the employee and employer contribution.

Sen. J. Uduch Sengebau Senior, who was one of the senators who launched the 3-day signature campaign said the petition has garnered close to 1,200 signatures agreeing to the restoration of the old SS rate and the reinstatement of the quarterly cap on the amount subject to deductions.

She said the petition would be submitted to the Senate to urge senators to consider the plea. The petition will particularly urge the Senate Committee on Ways and Means chaired by Sen. Mark Rudimch.

The bill that seeks the restoration of the old social security rate will be under Rudimch’s committee.

A new budget bill signed by Palau President Tommy Remengesau Jr. on September 27 contained amendments to the Social Security Program that provide for a permanent financing of the $50 increase to the monthly benefits of retirees.

The increase was signed into law despite concerns from the Palau Chamber of Commerce and some members of the Senate on how it will impact businesses and employees.

The increase has minimal impact on low-income earners, especially those who make less than $24,000 per year, instead the high-income earners and employers would bear the increase.

Earlier Senator Rukebai Inabo said that shortage in local revenues has made it necessary to exclude the $2Million funding necessary to continue the appropriation for the $50 benefit payment to SS beneficiaries.

Minister Elbuchel Sadang of the Ministry of Finance said that by increasing the contribution, the $50 benefit will become a permanent benefit and not subject to yearly appropriation of OEK.  Furthermore, the contributions each individual makes will go toward their own retirement benefit.

Existing law before this amendment was enacted mandated the removal of remuneration cap by year 2020.  The current law amended and implemented that removal of the cap on remuneration 3 years ahead of scheduled removal. [/restrict]