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It’s official: Metro Manila minimum wages to rise by P20 per day

May 17, 2008 4:17am
MANILA, Philippines - Daily minimum wages in Metro Manila will increase by P20, officials announced Friday, formally confirming adjustments bared earlier this week.

The increase consists of a P15 adjustment in base pay and a P5 cost of living allowance (COLA), which will be integrated into base pay on August 28, the anniversary of the last minimum wage hike.

Wage Order 14, which takes effect 15 days after publication in a newspaper of general circulation, will raise the daily minimum wage in Metro Manila to P382.

A COLA lowers costs for employers as it is not included in computing wage components such as night differential, 13th month pay, and retirement/separation benefits.

Taking into account a likely June 1 effectivity date, the P5 COLA will remain in effect for a little under three months before being integrated to base pay.

Wage board chairman Raymundo G. Agravante, in explaining the delay in the official announcement — he had confirmed the P15/P5 adjustment to BusinessWorld on Wednesday, and President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo announced a P20 increase the following day — said it was due to "diverse views."

Mrs. Arroyo had said the board was debating whether to tack on the entire P20 to base pay, but the Employers Confederation of the Philippines declared that as far as it was concerned, the agreement was for P15 base pay and P5 COLA.

The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines had asked the board to approve an across-the-board pay hike of P80. Its representatives to the wage board were not immediately available for comment.

Wage Order 14 allows for exemptions, which were limited to:

* distressed companies;
* firms whose total assets are not more than P3 million; Li> retail and service establishments regularly employing not more than 10 workers;
* companies adversely affected by natural calamities; and
* micro and small indigenous exporters as certified by the Export Development Council.

National Wages and Productivity Commission chief Ciriaco A. Lagunzad III said labor groups can appeal the decision but said "historically, all appeals have in effect been dismissed."

"We are willing to discuss the appeals but unless there are patent errors and as long as we follow procedures, we won’t reverse it," he added.

The Metro Manila adjustment follows a P20 base pay hike ordered in the Calabarzon region and a P12 COLA in Northern Mindanao.

Mr. Lagunzad said the Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Mimaropa, Eastern Visayas, and SOCCSKSARGEN wage boards are expected to issue adjustments next week.

All wage boards are expected to have finished their work by the end of May, he added. - BusinessWorld
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