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Not all MSMEs exempted from minimum wage: DOLE

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The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in Negros Oriental yesterday said not all micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are exempted from the implementation of the minimum wage.

Ma. Teresa Tanquiamco, DOLE-Negros Oriental provincial director, during a Kapihan sa PIA forum in Dumaguete City, said there are certain criteria and requirements from other government agencies that would categorize whether an MSME is qualified for exemption.

“Our office has received several complaints about why their businesses are not exempted from paying the minimum wage for their workers as well as for income tax,” Tanquiamco said.

She urged these MSMEs to coordinate with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to be guided accordingly.

In an interview with the Philippine News Agency, DTI-Negros Oriental public information officer Jade Bato said MSMEs fall under the three classifications (micro-enterprise, small enterprise and medium enterprise) based on assets, that would determine whether they are exempted from the minimum wage implementation.

The exemption requires a Barangay Micro Business Establishment (BMBE) certification from the DTI and another certification for income tax exemption from the Bureau of Internal Revenue, Bato said.

MSMEs considered by the DTI have up to P100 million in assets.

Micro businesses/sole proprietorships are those that have assets P3 million or below, small are those with not more than P50 million and medium are those that have up to P100 million, Bato said.

Only businesses classified as micro or sole proprietorship qualified under BMBE are excluded from the minimum wage, she added.

The BMBE certification has a two-year validity and upon expiry, an inspection or validation will be conducted to see if they still qualify for renewal or not, especially if that business’s assets have already grown, Bato said.

There are about 9,000 registered MSMEs in Negros Oriental with about 90 percent categorized as small and have BMBE certification, she added.

Meanwhile, Tanquiamco said her office has 132 pending requests for assistance for the settlement of underpayment of wages and non-payment of benefits.

She reassured the public that they are strictly implementing the minimum wage law and conducting regular inspections to determine if business establishments are complying with the law.*PNA

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