The chairman of the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board announced yesterday that the new minimum wage rates in Western Visayas will take effect today and that strict compliance by all business establishments in the region is expected.
RTWPB chairman Johnson Cañete said that, starting today, the new minimum wage rates in Region 6 will be P295 for agricultural workers and P365 for non-agricultural workers after the board approved Wage Order No. 24 last month.
The effectivity came 15 days after the publication of the new wage order in local newspapers on June 27.
On June 11, the wage board announced the adjustments in minimum wage rates in the region that ranged from P13.50 to P41.50, including the varied cost of living allowance (COLA).
Section 1 of Wage Order No. 24 increased the minimum wage in the non-agricultural, commercial, and industrial business establishments employing more than 10 workers from P323.50 to P365 this year, an additional of P26.50 to their salaries plus the P15 COLA.
For non-agricultural, commercial, and industrial business establishments employing less than 10 workers, an additional P18.50 plus P5 COLA will be implemented on their minimum wages that will raise employees’ salaries to P295 from the current P271.50.
Cañete, who is also the regional director of the Department of Labor and Employment in Western Visayas, said that theeffectivity of the order, means that, starting today, employers should adjust the salaries of their minimum wage earner employees.
He said it is also up to the management if they want to hold discussions with their employees on how it will be implemented in their companies, but he expects full compliance.
“They should comply with the adjustments in minimum wages but if there are disagreements on how much will be deducted as their contributions and premiums like in PhilHealth and SSS, it is up to them to come to an agreement with their employees,” Cañete said in a phone interview.
He also said that the 12 labor inspectors across the region will conduct inspections on various establishments to ensure that they comply with it and other mandates of DOLE.
Labor representative to the RTWPB, Wennie Sancho, also said that this implementation of new wage orders will help cushion the increases in fare and prices of petroleum and other basic commodities.
Sancho, who is the secretary-general of the General Alliance of Workers Association-Negros Island, also said non-compliance with the wage order will lead to sanctions such as P25,000 to P100,000 fine and imprisonment of two to five years.
“These wage adjustments will somehow provide relief to minimum wage earners amid the continuous increases in prices of petroleum products and commodities,” Sancho said.
He also said establishments that cannot afford to adopt the minimum wage can file a petition for exemption with the RTWPB.
Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chief Executive Officer Frank Carbon said business groups in Negros Occidental have shown no opposition to the wage order and will comply faithfully.
This was after Cañete said that the Iloilo Business Club has manifested its opposition to the implementation of the wage order.
He urged business establishments to find “creative ways” to recover the amount of adjustments that could affect their production expenses. These could be finding cheaper raw materials, increase in prices of their products and services, or efficient use of water and electricity in their facilities, he added.
Carbon said that establishments cannot terminate employees due to the wage increase as this adjustment will mean more money in circulation and businesses will earn more.*MLG
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