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MANILA, Philippines – Metro Manila’s wage board has approved a P40 increase in the minimum daily wage for workers in the capital region, raising the minimum wage to P610.
In a statement on Thursday, June 29, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) announced that the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) affirmed Wage Order No. NCR-24 on Tuesday, June 27, which granted the 7% increase.
It increases the minimum wage from P570 to P610 for the non-agricultural sector, and P533 to P573 for the agriculture sector, service, and retail establishments employing 15 or less workers, and manufacturing establishments regularly employing less than 10 workers.
The DOLE credited the increase to petitions from labor groups, who appealed for an increase in minimum wages due to rising prices of basic goods and commodities.
“These likewise results in a comparable 7% increase in wage-related benefits covering 13th-month pay, service incentive leave, and social security benefits such as SSS (Social Security System), PhilHealth (Philippine Insurance Health Corporation), and Pag-IBIG (Home Development Mutual Fund),” the DOLE said in its statement.
The department said the increase is expected to benefit 1.1 million minimum wage earners in Metro Manila. “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 added.
Establishments regularly not employing more than 10 workers, as well as businesses affected by natural calamities may apply for exemption with the RTWPB. This is standard with any wage order.
The labor department claimed that the minimum wage rates remained above the regional poverty threshold of P452 per day for a family of five. With the increase, the monthly salary of a non-agricultural worker in Metro Manila would amount to around P18,910. But this may not be minimum wage earners’ take-home pay, since their salaries may still be subject to deductions. (FAST FACTS: What are SSS, GSIS, PhilHealth, Pag-IBIG salary deductions?)
An April 28 report from the IBON Foundation held that the living wage for a family of five in Metro Manila is P25,208 as of March 2023. The makes the minimum wage still around 25% less than what families need to live comfortably.
Lower than petitioned for
In a joint statement on Thursday evening, labor rights groups Partido Manggagawa (PM) and Kapatiran ng mga Unyon at Samahang Manggagawa (Kapatiran) said that the P40 increase is “way below the P100 to P1,140 wage hike petitions filed by several labor groups” since December 2022.
“We are disappointed as the order not only came late but also because it was not the workers but primarily the side of business that was considered in this decision,” the groups said.
PM and Kapatiran illustrated that a P40 can only buy around a kilogram of regular-milled rice, and may not be enough to cover the increase in the prices of onions.
“Because of this ineffectiveness of the regional wage boards to narrow the gap between the minimum wage and the amount of living wage that the workers’ family need to enjoy a life of dignity, the wage battle now shifts to Congress for a P150-P750 legislated across-the-board wage hike,” the groups added.
The last wage increase in Metro Manila was implemented in May 2022. – Rappler.com