The announced wage hike for Eastern Visayas that was approved by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) of P50 would take effect 15 days after publication and will come in two tranches.
The first P25 will be effective 15 days upon publication of the wage hike order and the next by January 2023 yet.
With this announced wage hike approval, the minimum wage for Eastern Visayas workers would be raised from P325 (current rates a day) to P350 after 15 days of publication and then P375 by January.
Small as it looks like, workers said the hike would be "better than nothing" but it does not mean they are happy with it.
The DOLE national office announced the additional P50 raise for Eastern Visayas’ daily pay on June 9. But it is not yet clear if this was the wage order itself, hence counting 15 days would commence.
Reliable sources said the decision to increase the floor wage reached the National Wage and Productivity Commission (NWPC) for concurrence on June 6 after the initial endorsement of the Regional Tripartite Wage and Productivity Board (RTWPB).
This means that after the delay, workers in the region would then again have to endure an indefinite wait for the implementation of the wage hike,
Better than nothing
Despite the initial disappointment, workers and minimum wage earners say the slight increase is better than nothing considering the current inflation on basic necessities and fuel prices.
“Pasalamat nala nga mayda kesa hit waray.Nag ilob ngani han 325 asay pa ba ito nga mayda na,” says Des Espina, a fast food employee.
The recent announcement was also not spared from classic Waray humor as the people pokes fun at the initially proposed P750 minimum wage turned into a P50 increase.
“Nawara man 7 ha 750 haha. It presyo ht gasolina pan cum laude pero it increase ha sweldo bagat singko la ha college hahaha. Pastilan kun mga presyo di na alang pag increase pero kun sweldo lugod,” one netizen posted.
In addition, the said increase will be implemented in two tranches.
P25 on the first tranche will be implemented after its effectiveness or 15 days after publication in a newspaper of general circulation and another P25 on the second tranche starting January 2, 2023.
“Singkwenta na ngan la gin tunga pa. Pag mahirap binabarat, pag mayaman nga negosyante ka galante,” says netizen Connie.
Comply or face fines
With the wage changes being approved nationwide, DOLE warned employers to pay their workers with the newly approved wage rates or face penalties.
The agency warns employers that violators will be charged a fine ranging from P25,000 to P100,000.
Violators will also face imprisonment of two to four years at the discretion of the court.
“If the new wages are not reflected in their salaries, workers should file complaints before DOLE,” says DOLE Western Visayas Regional Director Sixto Rodriguez Jr.
The official added that this is due to the fact that there is no such thing as a task force that would ensure the implementation of the law.
But then again, a P100,000 fine is merely a scratch on the surface for rich employers compared to the possible month, even years, of unemployment for complaining.
Perhaps it is about high time for the agency to consider and make the non-existent task force a reality.