Bill increasing pay for gov’t workers starting 2020 now up for Duterte’s signature

Mara Cepeda
Bill increasing pay for gov’t workers starting 2020 now up for Duterte’s signature
(UPDATED) If passed into law, the House bill would also require government offices to grant employees a mid-year bonus equivalent to a month's basic salary as of May 15 of the given year

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The House of Representatives gave the green light to the bill that would increase the take-home pay of government employees, including teachers and nurses, starting January 1, 2020. 

Voting 187-5-0, lawmakers approved House Bill (HB) No. 5712 or the Salary Standardization Law (SSL) of 2019on 3rd and final reading on Wednesday, December 18. The Senate version was approved on Monday, December 16.

The bill will no longer pass through the bicameral conference committee level as the House passed a similar version as that of the Senate. The measure will now be sent straight to Malacañang for President Rodrigo Duterte’s signature.

If HB 5712 becomes a law, the salary schedules of government workers will be increased in 4 tranches every January starting 2020 until 2023. 

The House approved the bill on 3rd reading after President Rodrigo Duterte certified the measure as urgent. The certification allowed the lower chamber to conduct the 3rd reading of HB 5712 just a day after they approved it on second reading on Tuesday, December 17. 

House rules state there should be at least 3 days in between the 2nd and 3rd readings of bills, unless certified as urgent by the President.

Who are covered by the salary hike? If passed into law, HB 5712 would cover all government employees, regardless if they regular, contractual, casual, appointive or elective, and on full-time or part-time basis: 

Government workers with Salary Grades 11 to 13, would benefit the most as their salary increases will ranges from 24.1% to 30.1% once the proposed SSL 2019 is fully implemented. 

The bill would also increase the proposed minimum basic salary from P11,068 to P13,000 to “remain competitive” with the minimum daily wage in the National Capital Region. 

HB 5712 would also require government offices to grant employees a mid-year bonus equivalent to a month’s basic salary as of May 15 of the given year. But only those who have rendered at least 4 months of “satisfactory service” and are still employed would be qualified to get the bonus.

Who are excluded? HB 5712’s proposed salary increases would not benefit the following:

  • Military and uniformed personnel
  • Government-owned and -controlled corporations 
  • Individuals whose services are engaged through job orders, contracts of services, consultancy contracts, and service contracts with no employer-employee relationship

Duterte had called for the salary adjustment in his 4th State of the Nation Address in July. He also previously promised higher pay for public school teachers and nurses.

Why oppose the pay hike? Among those who voted no against HB 5712 was Deputy Minority Leader Carlos Zarate of Bayan Muna. He voted no not because he is against the pay hike, but only because the proposed salary increase was too small. 

“Nakakapanlumo, nakakabahala at higit sa lahat, nakakainsulto para sa ating mga kawani ng pamahalaan, na siyang gulugod ng pagpapatakbo ng buong gobyerno ng Pilipinas, na ang ‘Christmas gift’ kuno na ibibigay natin sa kanila ay ang dagdag-pasahod na P483 kada taon,” Zarate said.

(It is appalling, worrisome, and most of all, insulting that our government workers, who help run the government of the Philippines, would receive a ‘Christmas gift’ of additional P483 salary per year.)

The Bayan Muna congressman explained the measly amount translates to just P16.1 additional funds for a family of 5 to spend a day.

“Mga kapwa ko mga kinatawan, ngayong araw ay nagpapasa kayo ng P3.22 na pandagdag sa pang-araw-araw na gastusin ng isang tao. Walang mabibiling kahit ano ang isang buhay na tao sa P3.22 lalo pa at sa harap ng Train (Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act) Law, ng patung-patong na buwis at patuloy na pagmahal ng mga bilihin,” said Zarate.

(My fellow representatives, today you approved giving P3.22 additional funds for a person to spend per day. A living person would not be able to buy anything with just P3.22, especially with the Train Law, the multiple taxes, and the increasing prices of goods.) – Rappler.com

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.