House eyes bigger wage hike of up to P350 a day

By: Jeanette Andrade - Philippine Daily Inquirer | February 27,2024 - 08:18 PM

House eyes bigger wage hike of up to P350 a day

Rep. Manuel Jose Dalipe and House Speaker Martin Romualdez (File photos from the House of Representatives)

MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives is considering a daily minimum wage hike for all private sector workers higher than the P100 proposed by the Senate, including a bill seeking a P350 increase.

In a statement on Sunday, House Majority Leader Manuel Jose Dalipe pointed out that the chamber’s members arrived at a consensus that the Senate-approved P100 wage adjustment “might not sufficiently meet the needs of the workers,” as they acknowledged that minimum wage earners continue to grapple with the effects of inflation and reduced purchasing power.

“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, adding that Speaker Martin Romualdez has tasked the House leadership to find ways to enhance workers’ take-home pay, including a legislated wage hike or revisions in the regional wage board mechanism.

He said that the House Committee on Labor and Employment is set on Wednesday to look into several pending measures on pay increases, among them a draft law by Deputy Speaker and Trade Union Congress of the Philippines Party-list Rep. Raymond Democrito Mendoza calling for a P150 across-the-board wage hike.

ALSO READ: TUCP calls to intensify passage of the Wage Recovery Act

“The urgency of these discussions highlights the House’s dedication to timely and impactful legislative action,” Dalipe pointed out.

The House majority leader said the members of the chamber were recommending a legislated wage hike ranging from P150 to P350 a day, which would “more appropriately address the significant decline in workers’ real wages and their diminishing purchasing power.”

Balancing act

“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 (MSMEs),” Dalipe explained.

He assured the public that the House recognized 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.”

“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 asserted, stressing the importance of a comprehensive stakeholder consultation to ensure any wage increase would be beneficial to and sustainable for all parties involved.

Last week, Deputy Majority Leader and Iloilo Rep. Janette Garin said that increasing the daily minimum wage by up to P350 would be possible once the country is opened to foreign investors.

ALSO READ: P100 daily wage hike bill approved on final reading

She argued that the Senate-approved P100 increase in the daily minimum wage of private sector workers might not be enough to cope with rising expenses, suggesting that a P350 across-the-board wage hike might help employees more.

Garin said the question was how this could be made possible, which she believed could be done by making the Philippines “investor-friendly.”

The Senate and the House are working on a bill that would amend specific economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution to help attract foreign investors.

Burden on MSMEs

But some House lawmakers have been lukewarm to the proposed wage increase, warning that it could hurt MSMEs.

Deputy Speaker David Suarez earlier said the proposed P100 daily wage hike could compromise the viability of these small firms, while Albay Rep. Joey Salceda warned that higher workers’ pay might burden many MSMEs.

ALSO READ: Lawmaker proposes gradual 3-year wage hike for private workers

Marikina Rep. Stella Quimbo, an economics professor at the University of the Philippines, also raised concerns that the wage hike might be inflationary since companies would pass on the burden of paying higher salaries to the cost of their services or goods.

But labor leaders Luke Espiritu and Leody de Guzman labeled these fears as excuses by big businesses that did not want a wage increase eating into their profits.

ALSO READ: Employers: A catastrophe to grant P100 wage hike

According to Espiritu, if the government was sincerely looking after MSMEs, it should subsidize part of the MSME workers’ wages so that big businesses could be compelled to shell out more for their workers.

In the Senate, the landmark bill proposing a P100 increase in the daily minimum wage of private sector workers got a step closer to becoming a law after it was approved on its third and final reading.

Senate Bill No. 2534 under Committee Report No. 190 received 20 affirmative votes during the chamber’s plenary session a week ago.

The Employers Confederation of the Philippines had earlier voiced opposition to the Senate-approved P100 increase in the minimum wage, warning of its adverse impact on MSMEs.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

Read Next

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of Cebudailynews. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

TAGS: House, Martin Romualdez, senate, wage hike

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.