Minimum wage hike needs careful study; might force businesses to close — DOLE

By: Krissy Aguilar - Reporter / @KAguilarINQ January 28,2021 - 12:53 PM

Workers at a medicine factory in the Philippines (AFP FILE PHOTO)

MANILA, Philippines — The petition to increase the minimum wage must be studied carefully as employers might not be able to afford it and be forced to shut down operations, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said Thursday.

While the interest of both employers and employees should be weighed, Bello said businesses not being able to pay their workers might lead to the “worst situation” — an increase in unemployment rate.

“If we will grant or recommend the approval of the petition na tataasan yung sweldo from P537 to P700 o P750, baka hindi makayanan ng mga employers. Baka ang mangyayari nyan, pag tinaasan yan, they will be compelled to shut,” Bello said in a televised briefing.

(If we will grant or recommend the approval of the petition to increase the wage from P537 to P700 or P750, the employers might not be able to afford it. If we increase it, they may be compelled to close down.)

“Kaya kailangan talaga pag-aralan natin mabuti before we make any drastic move. Kailangan dito masusing pag-aaral. Can the employers afford it? If they can, then by all means, we will recommend, we will adapt the petition of the workers.”

Labor and Employment Sec. Silvestre Bello III. Senate PRIB file photo / Henzberg Austria

(We need to study this carefully before we make any drastic move. We need to carefully research this. Can the employers afford it? If they can, then by all means, we will recommend, we will adapt the petition of the workers.)

“But if they cannot, then we have to be very careful. Otherwise, we will again increase the unemployment rate. That is the worst situation as far as our employees are concerned,” he went on.

Bello surmised that as of now, what’s important for the workers is to retain their status of employment amid job cuts due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The labor official also said that they have yet to receive a petition to increase the minimum wage.

Workers have decried the skyrocketing food prices as they sought for an increase in the minimum wage.

The legislated daily minimum wage in Metro Manila is P537 but when adjusted for inflation, it worth onlyP434.

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TAGS: Bello, Labor Secretary, minimum wage, worst situation

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