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Calabarzon workers to get P35-P50 minimum wage hike —DOLE

Private sector workers in Region IV-A or Calabarzon should expect higher pay later this month after the region’s wage board approved an increase in minimum wages, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said Friday.

In a statement, the DOLE said Calabarzon’s Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board issued Wage Order No. IV-A-20 on September 1, 2023, which provides an increase ranging P35 to P50 for minimum wages in the region.

Calabarzon comprises the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon.

With the wage order, the new minimum rates in Region IV-A will now range between P385 and P520 in non-agriculture sector, P385 to P479 in the agriculture sector, and P385 for retail and service establishments employing not more than 10 workers.

The distribution of new minimum wage rates per geographical area are as follows:

Meanwhile, the DOLE said agriculture sector workers in the cities of Calaca, Batangas and Carmona, Cavite shall receive an increase of P89.00 “due to their reclassification from first class municipalities to component cities by virtue of Republic Act Nos. 11544 and 11938, respectively.”

The latest rates translate to a 9% to 11% increase from the prevailing daily minimum wage rates in the region and would also result in a comparable 23% increase in wage-related benefits covering 13th-month pay, service incentive leave (SIL), and social security benefits such as SSS, PhilHealth and Pag-IBIG, according to the Labor Department.

Moreover, the wage order is expected to directly benefit 719,704 minimum wage earners in Region IV-A, while about 1.6 million full-time wage and salary workers earning above the minimum wage may also indirectly benefit as a result of upward adjustments at the enterprise level arising from the correction of wage distortion, the DOLE said.

The Labor Department said the wage order was submitted for affirmation to the National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC) on September 4, and was subsequently affirmed on September 5.

The wage order is set to be published on September 8, and shall take effect after 15 days from its publication, or on September 24, 2023.

This is the second wage order issued by a regional wage board, following the P40 minimum wage hike approved by the National Capital Region’s Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board in June.

In Region IV-A, the last wage order was issued on May 30, 2022 and became effective on June 30, 2022.

The minimum wage hike in Calabarzon, the DOLE said, “considered the various wage determination criteria provided under Republic Act No. 6727 or the Wage Rationalization Act, resulted from several petitions filed by various labor groups seeking an increase in the daily minimum wage due to escalating prices of basic goods and commodities.:

The region’s wage board —comprised of representatives from the government, management and labor sectors— conducted a series of public hearings on August 7 in Batangas, August 9 in Cavite, and August 11 in Laguna as well as wage deliberations on August 16, 18, 23, and September 1.

The DOLE noted that retail or service establishments regularly employing not more than 10 workers and enterprises affected by natural calamities and/or human-induced disasters may apply for exemption from the wage increase.

Likewise, Barangay Micro Business Enterprises (BMBEs) are not covered by the minimum wage law pursuant to Republic Act No. 9178 of 2002.

In a separate statement, the Kapatiran ng mga Unyon at Samahang Manggagawa or Kapatiran hit the P30 to P50 minimum wage increase for workers in Calabarzon as it “failed to meet the principal demands for wage recovery and living wage of the wage petitioners in the region which amount ranges from P100 to P750 per day.”

“Kulang ang umentong ito kahit para sa isang kilong bigas sa isang araw at ni hindi makababawi sa nawala na at patuloy pang nawawalang halaga ng sahod ng manggagawa sa rehiyon. Sa kabila ng increase, ang tunay na halaga (real wage value) ng minimum wage ngayon sa Region IV-A ay P428.80 lamang,” said Kapatiran chairman Rey Almendras.

(This wage hike is not enough even for one kilo of rice in a day and won't even compensate for the decrease in the value of wages in the region. Despite the increase, the real wage value in Region IV-A is only at P428.80.)

Almendras said the NCR and Calabarzon wage orders will become the template for other regions, thus, the need to shift to battle for a legislated wage hike and reforms in the wage-setting mechanisms in the country.—AOL, GMA Integrated News