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Congressmen take 2nd look at legislated wage hike

Delon Porcalla - The Philippine Star
Congressmen take 2nd look at legislated wage hike
Workers are seen installing billboard advertisements along EDSA Kamuning in Quezon City on Tuesday.
Michael Varcas / The Philippine STAR

MANILA, Philippines —  The House of Representatives is re-examining its stand on a legislated wage increase, Majority Leader Mannix Dalipe announced yesterday.

Dalipe said Speaker Martin Romualdez has tasked the House leadership to identify ways of enhancing workers’ take-home pay, including a legislated wage hike or revisions to the law that assigns wage-setting to regional tripartite wage boards.

Dalipe said the House committee on labor and employment is poised to prioritize the examination of pending legislative measures concerning wage increases.

This includes the proposal put forth by Deputy Speaker Raymund Mendoza, which calls for a P150 across-the-board wage increase.

“Our workers are enduring tough times, and as their representatives, it is imperative that we find substantial solutions to alleviate their financial burdens,” Dalipe said in a statement.

While appreciating the efforts of the Senate, the House official noted that the House members express concern that a mere P100 increase falls short of the mark.

 

“While any increase is a step in the right direction, we must ensure that our legislative actions truly make a meaningful difference in the lives of our workers, particularly when considering the substantial challenges faced by the business sector, especially micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises,” he explained.

Dalipe said the House recognizes the delicate balance between supporting workers and ensuring business sustainability, adding that “with MSMEs constituting a significant portion of the Philippine economy, the potential repercussions of wage increases on employment rates and business viability are not taken lightly.”

Dalipe stressed the importance of comprehensive stakeholder consultation to ensure that any wage increase is beneficial and sustainable for all parties involved.

“The Congress is not just about passing laws quickly without thorough consideration. We are committed to enacting legislation that is both practical and beneficial for the long term,” he stated.

The P150-P350 range was the original amount the House has been deliberating on, but they cautioned senators when the Senate approved the P100 across-the-board pay hike in light of the fact that 95 percent of the country’s businesses come from micro, small and medium enterprises.

House members then warned that MSMEs might not be able to implement such, thus leading to massive layoffs and shutdown of businesses which may only get worse for the country’s recovering economy, especially after the recession in September 2020 due to the pandemic.

Senators reminded the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) that they should support the proposed measure that would grant a P100 increase in the daily minimum wage of employees in the private sector.

Sen. Francis Escudero said Senate Bill 2534 was designed to advance the welfare of the country’s workforce, which is DOLE’s primary job. He said DOLE should look after the welfare of workers, and not block any legislation that aims to uplift the living conditions of the labor force. – Cecille Suerte Felipe

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