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Minimum wage hiked by P40 in Metro Manila —DOLE

Private sector workers in the National Capital Region (NCR) may expect a raise in July, the Department of Labor of Employment (DOLE) said on Thursday.

Metro Manila’s Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board issued on June 26, 2023 Wage Order No. NCR-24, which increased the daily minimum wage for non-agriculture and agriculture sector workers by P40.

The adjustment brought the daily minimum wage in NCR to P610.00 from the current P570.00 for non-agriculture sector workers.

For those in the agriculture sector, service, and retail establishments employing 15 or fewer workers as well as manufacturers regularly employing less than 10 workers, the daily minimum wage was hiked to P573.00 from P533.00.

The last wage order for workers in private establishments in NCR was issued on May 13, 2022, and became effective on June 4, 2022.

The DOLE said the wage order was submitted for affirmation to the National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC) on June 26, 2023.

The NWPC then affirmed the wage order on June 27, 2023, and authorized its publication on June 30, 2023, according to the DOLE.

With its official publication on June 30, the new daily minimum wage rate for private sector workers in NCR shall take effect 15 days after or on July 16, 2023.

‘Rapid expansion of economy’

The DOLE said about 1.1 million minimum wage earners in NCR were expected to directly benefit from the order.

“About 1.5 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,” it said.

Earlier in the day, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said an increase in the minimum wage in the country might be implemented soon to ensure workers were protected from the "rapid expansion" of the economy.

At least 10 wage hike petitions were pending and were under review by various regional tripartite wages and productivity boards (RTWPBs).

The DOLE said the wage hike order in Metro Manila “considered the various wage determination criteria provided under Republic Act No. 6727 or the Wage Rationalization Act.”

The order also 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, it said.

The NCR wage board is composed of representatives from the government, management, and labor sectors.

Seven-percent hike

The new daily minimum wage rates, which grew 7% from the current rate in the region, remain above the regional poverty threshold of P452 per day for a family of five, the DOLE said.

“These likewise result in a comparable 7% increase in wage-related benefits covering 13th-month pay, service incentive leave (SlL), and social security benefits such as SSS, PhilHealth, and Pag-lBlG,” it added.

The DOLE said that the NWPC Omnibus Rules on Minimum Wage Determination provided relief for retail or service establishments regularly employing not more than 10 workers and enterprises affected by natural calamities and/or human-induced disasters as they may apply for an exemption from the wage increase.

“Barangay micro business enterprises (BMBEs) are not covered by the minimum wage law pursuant to Republic Act No. 9178 [2002],” the DOLE said.

‘Way short of P150’

The Federation of Free Workers welcomed the minimum wage increase in Metro Manila but added that it was not enough. 

"While we welcome the wage increase, ?40 still falls way short of the ?150 workers need in order for their minimum wage rates to recover from the unabated increase in prices of basic commodities over the past few years, but especially over the past year," FFW vice president Julius Cainglet said.

"It is not even enough to buy one kilo of rice," he added. 

Cainglet said the "paltry wage increase shows once again, the ineptness of the regional wage setting mechanism."

"The Board turned a blind eye to the realities that workers and their families face. We need a living wage, now more than ever,"Cainglet said.

Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno has said raising the minimum wage by P150 across the Philippines would increase inflation by 1.4 percentage points.

Diokno made the remark after a proposal for a legislated P150 minimum wage hike was approved at the committee level in the Senate in May.

“So who will benefit from that? Who will eventually suffer?” Diokno said. —NB, GMA Integrated News