New Metro Manila minimum wage set at P500 to P537
MANILA – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) yesterday confirmed the P25 across‐the‐board wage hike for minimum wage earners in Metro Manila.
New minimum wage rates for agricultural workers, firms in the manufacturing sector with at most 10 workers, and firms in the retail as well as service sectors with at most 15 workers will earn at least P500 daily, from the previous P475.
Non-agricultural workers, meanwhile, will soon have a daily minimum wage of P537 from P512.
Under Wage Order No. 22, the P10 cost of living allowance (COLA) will also become part of the basic pay. Previously, the minimum basic pay ranged from P465 to P502, with an addi onal P10 COLA.
Na onal Wages and Produc vity Commission Execu ve Director Criselda Sy explained that the integra on of COLA in the basic pay means bigger computa ons for over me pay and 13th month pay.
The new wage order will be effec ve 15 days from publica on in a newspaper. Sy said a copy of the order will be sent to their office.
The order was signed by DOLE, the Department of Trade and Industry, Na onal Economic and Development Authority, and an employers' group representa ve. Labor group representa ves signed the order, but with reserva ons.
The wage order can s ll be appealed within 10 days upon publica on. But Sy said there were no appeals that had been successfully granted in the past.
Higher infla on?
Asked whether the regional board could have approved a higher increase, Sy explained that doing so might lead to "secondary infla onary effects."
"It could be a poten al source of secondary infla onary effects. Infla on is at 6.7% and it could be higher if we implement a higher wage hike," she said.
Sy warned that the minimum wage policy "may be overburdened" with a higher rate, and may also lead to layoffs, if employers are unable to accommodate the addi onal cost.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III noted that the decision to implement the P25 wage hike was reached to "balance" the interests of both workers and employers. The Associated Labor Unions‐Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU‐TUCP) had called for a P100 hike, down from the ini al P334, during discussions.
"In deciding [the] minimum wage adjustment, the board needs to balance the needs of workers and their families, with the capacity of enterprises to pay the addi onal labor cost, without impairing businesses, especially [their] capacity to con nuously generate jobs," Bello said.
Based on Republic Act No. 6727 or the Wage Ra onaliza on Act, each region in the Philippines has a unique minimum wage set by the Regional Tripar te Wages and Produc vity Boards. The factors taken into considera on include the poverty threshold, employment rate, and cost of living specific to the region.
'Overworked, underpaid workers'
Labor groups slammed the "measly" P25 increase, saying it is "not a relief" for workers.
ALU‐TUCP said infla on would con nue to "prolong" the plight of workers, and warned of further strikes.
"By not giving a substan al wage increase, we are looking at disgruntled, dissa sfied workers, with or without unions, demanding higher wages, directly confron ng employers and business owners, crea ng tension within the enterprise level thereby disturbing and breaking the fragile industrial peace," ALU‐ TUCP spokesperson Alan Tanjusay said.
Meanwhile, Par do Manggagawa said the hike is "30% short" of making up for the P35.84 "erosion" in wages, according to its own es mate.
"P25 is just alms, not relief to overworked yet underpaid Filipino workers. P25 cannot compensate for the [almost] 7% runaway infla on in Metro Manila and real wage stagna on, despite 50% produc vity growth from 2001 to 2016," Par do Manggagawa president Rene Magtubo said.
Hundreds troop to the Quezon City Hall for a job fair on May 1, 2018.