Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday announced that the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board in Region 1 (RTWPB-1) has approved and issued Wage Order No.RB1-17 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations increasing the daily minimum wage rates of workers and employees falling below the poverty income threshold, particularly in the non-agriculture (micro) and agriculture (non-plantation) sectors, by P14.00 effective 19 July 2015.
“Regional Director Grace Ursua reported to me that the increase will be given in two tranches. The first tranche is a P7.00 increase upon effectivity of the wage order and the second tranche is another P7.00 to be given starting 1 December 2015,” Baldoz said.
Baldoz said that with the increase, the DOLE is on track of attaining its goal under the Two-Tiered Wage System, a reform that Secretary Baldoz had initiated, to close the gap between all minimum wages falling below the poverty income threshold at par or above the povery income threshold level on or before December 2015.
In her report, Director Ursua said that in deciding the amount of the increase, the RTWPB-1 considered the prevailing socio-economic condition obtaining in the region, as well as the viability of the various businesses, most of which are micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
“Moreover, the increase is consistent with the government’s policy to alleviate the living conditions of workers, particularly those receiving wage rates below the regional poverty income threshold,” she said.
She estimated that the increase will immediately benefit 118,847 workers and employees working in 45,542 micro establishments in Region 1.
She also recalled that the RTWPB-1 conducted public hearings on the wage issue were conducted in Vigan City for the provinces of Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte, and in the cities of San Fernando, La Union and Dagupan in May to gather the positions and views of both the labor and the management sectors.
Excluded in the increase are kasambahay or domestic workers, persons employed in the personal service of another, including family drivers, and workers and employees of registered Barangay Micro Business Enterprises (BMBEs) with Certifications of Authority.
The new wage order also provides exemptions to distressed establishments, new business establishments, retail/service establishments employing not more than ten workers, and establishments adversely affected by calamities such as natural and/or human-induced disasters.
Deadline in the filing of exemptions from the coverage of the wage order is on 17 September 17, 2015 at the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board-1 or at the Field Offices of the Department of Labor and Employment in the region.
Schedule of orientations on the new Wage Order is as follows: August 12 – City of San Fernando, La Union; August 18 – Dagupan City and August 20 – Laoag City.
Director Grace Y. Ursua is the RTWPC chairperson. Its members are Director Florante O. Leal and Director Nestor G. Rillon, vice-chairpersons representing the government sector; Jerry V. Parlan and Salvador R. Poserio representing the management sector; and Eliseo P. Flora and Mrs. Catherine Q. Pangan representing the labor sector.