Baldoz: New minimum wage in C. Luzon makes all PH wage rates above poverty

Photo Credit: Cambodia Herald
  • Baldoz says new minimum wage in C. Luzon makes all PH wage rates above poverty
  • Wage Order RB III-19 calls for a raise of P15 per day minimum wage in Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac , Zambales and Aurora
  • The wage increase takes neffect on New Year’s Day

MANILA – A wage increase that will take effect on New Year’s Day awaits the minimum wage earners in Central Luzon following the announcement made by Labor Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz during her year-end press conference.

In an article published by Interaksyon on December 21, Baldoz said the new wage order including its implementing rules and regulations, meets the Aquino administration’s target for all the country’s minimum wage rates to be above the poverty threshold level before the end of its term.

Wage Order RB III-19 calls for a raise of P15 per day minimum wage in Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac, Zambales, and Aurora (except retail and service establishments with less than 16 workers). It also increases the minimum wages by P20 per day in Aurora for workers in retail and services establishments with less than 16 workers.

“The Wage Board will immediately publish the IRR and, as the rules state, the wage order will take effect 15 days after its publication, which by the Board’s reckoning, will be on 1 January 2016,” Baldoz said.

“This is a victory not only for all Filipino workers, but for all Filipinos,” she said.

The wage earners in all Region 3 provinces, except Aurora, will receive the P15 per day increase in two tranches.

Baldoz said the minimum wage earners will receive P8 on the first tranche upon effectivity, and P7 on the second tranche on May 1, 2016, bringing the highest minimum wage in the region to P364, which is above the poverty threshold of P248 for a family of five.

For Aurora, the increase of P20 per day will also be given in two tranches, the first tranche of P10 to be given upon effectivity of the wage order, and the second tranche of P10 on May 1, 2016.

In issuing the wage order, the Board took consideration of the region’s poverty threshold, average wage levels, change in prices, erosion in real minimum wages, and other relevant socioeconomic indicators.

Employer representative to the Commission, Atty. Eduardo Rondain, Labor Representatives David Diwa and Ceric Bagtas, OIC Executive Director Jeanette Damo, and Labor Undersecretary Nicon Fameronag, acting on behalf of Baldoz as chairperson, all voted in favor of the wage order.

Baldoz said the Regional Wage Board in Central Luzon, chaired by DOLE Regional Director Atty. Ana Dione, conducted sectoral wage consultation on October 27 and regional public hearing on 5 November to gather inputs on the wage situation of the region.

The latest wage order applies to all minimum wage earners in the private sector in Region III regardless of position, designation, status of employment, and methods by which their wages are paid.

Not covered by the wage order are kasambahay and persons employed in personal service of another, including family drivers and workers of Barangay Micro Business Enterprises (BMBEs).

The Regional Wage Board in Region 3 has urged establishments to adopt productivity improvement schemes, such as good housekeeping, quality circles, and labor management cooperation, as well as to implement gain-sharing programs.

Complaints for non-compliance with Wage Order RB III-19 shall be filed with DOLE Regional Office in Central Luzon and shall be subject to the mandatory 30-day conciliation and mediation process under the single-entry approach (SEnA) reform measure. However, if settlement fails, the case becomes subject of enforcement proceedings under Article 128 of the Labor Code.

The SEnA is an administrative approach to provide speedy, impartial, inexpensive, and accessible settlement procedure for all issues/complaints arising from employer-employee relations to prevent them from ripening into full blown disputes. Under this approach, all labor and employment disputes shall undergo a 30-day mandatory conciliation-mediation process to effect settlement among the contending parties.

Any person, corporation, trust, or firm, partnership, association, or entity which refuses or fails to pay the prescribed wage rates in accordance with Wage Order RB III-19 shall be penalized with a fine not exceeding P25,000 and/or imprisonment of not less than one year nor more than two years, the Labor secretary said.