Study pay hike for domestic helpers – Bello

By: Donna Pazzibugan - Philippine Daily Inquirer | March 28,2022 - 08:38 AM
Photo of Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III for story: Study pay hike for domestic helpers – Bello

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III. | File photo

MANILA, Philippines — Wage authorities will include domestic helpers’ salaries in their study of a possible adjustment in the minimum wage amid rising fuel prices prompted by the conflict in Ukraine.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III has ordered all the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards (RTWPBs) to include in their review the possibility of raising the mandated minimum monthly salary of household helpers.

The wage boards have until the end of April to submit their recommendations.

Earlier this month Bello ordered all wage boards to study the possibility of increasing the minimum wage for all workers, as he cited the “skyrocketing prices of oil products caused by the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.”

Maria Criselda Sy, executive director of the National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC), noted that “all workers are affected” by the fuel price increases and their impact on the prices of basic goods.

This led to Bello’s order to include domestic helpers in the review of minimum wages across all regions, she said.

Metro Manila, BARMM

The regional wage boards are tasked under Republic Act No. 10361 or the Kasambahay Act of 2013 to determine the minimum rates of domestic workers.

The mandated monthly salary for them varies by region. According to the NWPC, this ranges from P2,000 in the Davao region to P5,000 in Metro Manila and Central Visayas.

Across the country’s 17 regions, the mandated minimum monthly pay of domestic helpers averages P3,700 for those working in cities and first-class municipalities and P3,400 for those working in any of the rest of the municipalities.

Minimum wage

But in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), the minimum wage is set at a daily rate of P325, in accordance with a 2019 order by the Bangsamoro Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board.

This is a P35 increase from the previous P290 daily minimum wage and is P25 higher than the daily pay for that region’s agricultural workers.

A government survey also from 2019 found that the monthly pay of stay-in household workers ranged from P2,309 in the BARMM to P5,815 in Metro Manila.

For live-out household workers, the pay ranged from P2,739 in the BARMM to P6,202 in the National Capital Region.

The average minimum wages nationwide for stay-in and live-out domestic helpers were a bit higher than the rates set by law, at P4,772 and P3,892, respectively.

There are around 1.4 million domestic helpers across the country, according to 2019 data, with 72 percent or more than a million of them on live-out arrangements, that is, they do not live in their employers’ homes.

Last wage adjustments

In an interview in 2020, Bello called for a minimum monthly salary of P6,000 for domestic helpers nationwide.

The period of 2018 to early 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic, saw the last wage adjustments so far for all workers.

Earlier this month, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) called for a minimum daily pay of at least P1,000.

The labor group also petitioned the RTWPB of Metro Manila to raise the current daily wage of P537 by P470—which would increase to P1,007 the daily minimum wage of an estimated 5 million workers in the capital region.

Another group, the Kilusang Mayo Uno, brought up anew its 2019 petition calling for a daily minimum wage of P750 in Metro Manila, a rate which the progressive Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives wants implemented across the country.

TUCP president Raymond Mendoza had said that minimum wage earners “ have fallen from the category of low-income to newly poor.”

But business leaders warned that most businesses may not be able to afford a new wage hike, considering that they are only now beginning to rebound from the pandemic.

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TAGS: Cebu Daily News, DOLE. Silvestre Bello III, domestic hejpers, minimum wage, pay hike

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