Every little bit

THAT DOES IT - Korina Sanchez - The Freeman

The Senate has passed on third reading Senate Bill 2534 or the wage hike increase of ?100 to the current minimum wage for the private sector. The National Capital Region (NCR) minimum wage is currently at ?610 per day. Once the Lower House passes the bill, the daily wage will be ?710. Twenty senators voted to pass. Four did not vote because they were not in the Senate when the votes were cast. But before everyone starts rejoicing, there are still obstacles to overcome.

One of them is the Lower House itself which has been cool on raising the minimum wage and even accuses the Senate of posturing for the coming elections next year. Early campaigning if you will. And since businessmen and manufacturers would implement the increase, they immediately voiced concerns and warnings. The wage increase will simply be passed on to the consumer which will increase the prices of almost all commodities. I don't think I've heard a businessman or manufacturer say they were okay with the increase and would shoulder it themselves. In addition, if the salary increase cannot be afforded, employees may be laid off causing more hardships. Businesses may even close shop. There is a suggestion that the increase of ?100 per day be implemented on a staggered basis because only large companies can afford the increase.

According to the IBON Foundation, a family of five will need ?1,193 per day to live a decent life. The current ?610 daily wage in NCR is only half of that. A ?100 increase in wages will help. But its impact, be it good or bad is not only felt by the employees but by the businessmen, companies, and even the economy of the country.

The more money a person has, the more money there is to spend. That's a sign of a good economy. But the downside is inflation, which is a burden on people. When the TRAIN Law was implemented by the previous administration, some employees benefited from the tax relief, but inflation rose due to the large increase in the price of gasoline and diesel. There is no perfect solution when it comes to wages. Some will not benefit from any increase in wages, particularly farmers who are not covered by the minimum wage. There are those saying they should be covered by a similar law in wages. That’s a topic for the table all on its own. But for now, I hope the Lower House passes the law. For the poor, every little bit counts.

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