Senate approves bill raising gov’t workers’ salaries

MANILA, Philippines – The Senate approved on Monday, January 18, the Salary Standardization Law IV (SSL IV), which seeks to provide higher compensation for all government officials and employees, including nurses, teachers, and soldiers.

Nineteen senators approved Senate Bill No 2671 on third and final reading, with no negative vote or abstention:

The measure mandates a “4-year P226-billion compensation increase for the national government’s 1.53 million civilian and military and uniformed personnel.”

Its compensation package for government employees includes an average 27% increase in the basic salary, an 8% increase in the mid-year 14th month pay, and an enhanced performance-based bonus system. President Benigno Aquino III himself has endorsed the bill’s passage into law. 

Senators earlier approved SSL IV on December 14, 2015, but it was returned to the plenary the next day for reconsideration. The House of Representatives was not able to ratify the bill before session was adjourned in December because the bill was still pending in the Senate. (READ: Gov't salary hike ready in time for 2016 – congressmen)

The upper chamber then included SSL IV among its priority bills as plenary resumed in 2016.

Trillanes said on Monday that SSL IV will be implemented in 4 tranches between January 1, 2016 and January 1, 2019 to make sure state workers would receive a high net take-home pay that is “fair, reasonable, in recognition of fiscal realities.”

He explained that the approved budget for this year already includes a P57.9 billion allocation for the implementation of the first tranche of wage hikes planned under SSL IV.

‘Competitive’ with private sector

Drilon said on Monday that SSL IV “will solve the exodus of government workers who leave their posts to seek greener pastures in the private sector and abroad.”

He added the bill was intended to increase the number of civilian government employees by making their compensation “competitive” with those doing comparable work in the private sector, a view shared by Trillanes.

Trillanes said that through SSL IV’s new compensation and position classification system (CPCS), the pay for government personnel will become closer to the prevailing rates in the private sector. This is equivalent to “at least 70%” of the market rate for all salary grades.

According to the senator, this means government employees like nurses who receive P24,887 monthly under Salary Grade 15 will have their pay raised to P26,192 next year. By 2019, their monthly salaries would be at P30,541.

Trillanes added that the minimum basic salary for civilian government personnel, those falling under Salary Grade 1 or "Administrative Aide,” would be raised from P9,000 to P11,068.

The same principle will also be applied to the salaries of military and uniformed personnel, with the pay for army privates, apprentice seamen, and police officers of the lowest rank increasing from P14,834 to P16,597.

"The bill will maximize the employees' net take-home pay and recognize the government personnel who play a greater role and carry a heavier responsibility in improving government performance," Trillanes said.

The senator, who is eyeing the vice presidency in the May elections, said the higher wages to be introduced under SSL IV would serve as an anti-corruption measure.

"Due to the competitive compensation package, our public servants can be effectively discouraged from resorting to scrupulous activities in order to augment their meager income and instead, focus their efforts and energy on serving the public, curbing corruption and cutting red tape." – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the Senate and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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