Press Releases

The labor department on Monday assured the public that its regional wage boards will expedite the deliberation of petitions for wage adjustment to help workers cope with the rising cost of basic goods triggered by the high prices of fuel products.

Executive Director Maria Criselda Sy of the National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC) said the heads of the wage boards met last week to discuss the fast-tracking of the review and process of the wage adjustment.

“We have already convened our DOLE Regional Directors and invited resource persons from critical agencies that can provide the wage boards a perspective on what is happening on social economic environment. These inputs given from the national level will then be disseminated on their respective regions,” Sy said.

She added, “We impressed upon them the request of the Secretary and the Congress to fast-track the review and process of the wage adjustment in the regions. We take note of the considerations such as the current crisis between Ukraine and Russia which resulted in oil price hikes. However, we need to follow the process mandated under the law for wage determination and the current health protocols since we are still on Alert Level 1.”

She stressed that the determination of wage adjustment has to undergo a process. Sy said upon receipt of wage hike petitions, the wage board secretariat has five days to study the veracity of the petition in form and content before its actual submission to the board.

The board will then deliberate the petitions and decide whether to conduct a public hearing or not. RTWPBs are mandated to publish a notice of public hearing within 15 days to give stakeholders the chance to participate in deliberations.

Sy said when there is no filed petition for wage increase, a regional wage board may motu proprio, or on its own initiative, review existing wage structure and conduct public hearings.

She said there were already 10 wage hike petitions filed with six regional wage boards. These are the National Capital Region, Region 3, 4A, 6, 7 and 8.

Sy said while the wage boards have recognized the urgency of the deliberation for the wage adjustment, she has yet to receive reports on the schedule of public hearings from the regions.

In the process of determining wage adjustments, Sy said the boards will also consider the unintended effect of the wage order in the economy such as on unemployment, in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth, in the prices of basic commodities, and on inflation.

“We hope the public can understand that we do not want to derail the economic development during this pandemic period. The process for wage adjustment is not easy and we want to get all of the sentiments of the members of the tripartite group. Although we are aware of the competing nature of this urgency, our focus is really to manage the unintended outcome of the decision of the boards,” Sy said.

Stressing the independent nature of the wage boards, Sy said the boards are guided by the following factors in setting the minimum wage: 1. Demand for living wage; 2. Wage adjustment vis-à-vis Consumer Price Index (CPI); 3. Cost of living and changes therein; 4. Needs of workers and their families; 5. Improvements in standards of living; 6. Fair return on capital investment and capacity to pay of employers; 7. Prevailing wage levels; 8. Need to induce industries to invest in the countryside; 9. Effects on employment generation and family income; 10. Equitable distribution of income and wealth along the imperatives of economic social development. ###Paul Ang

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