Labor Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday said that the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board in 12 regions are currently in the process of wrapping up their wage consultations, deliberations, and public hearings prior to issuing decisions on whether or not they will issue new wage orders in their respective regions.
Baldoz, citing a report from Executive Director Alex Avila of the National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC), said that after conducting public hearings, the wage boards will meticulously study the recommendations of both employer and labor sectors.
“Under the law, a wage hike petition must go through a public hearing and deliberation by a seven-man regional wage board composed of two representatives each from labor and business, and three from the government,” said Baldoz.
Baldoz added that the Regional Wage Boards are assessing the needs of workers and their families, capacity of employers to pay, comparable wages and incomes across regions and requirements of economic development in the light of the prevailing socio-economic conditions of the region.
“The wage boards will also consult with other government agencies to study whether the present economic conditions would warrant a pay hike in their regions. They need to first study the economic conditions to warrant wage adjustments in the region,” she added.
The regions which are nearing or past the anniversary dates of their wage orders are: the National Capital Region whose Wage Order No. 19 reached its anniversary date on 4 April; Cordillera Administrative Region on 29 June; Region 1 on 19 July; Region 4-A on 1 May; Region 4-B on 3 July; Region 6 on 2 May; Region 8 on 30 March; Region 9 on 10 June; Region 10 on 3 July; Region 11 on 1 June; Region 12 on 1 August; Region 13 on 14 February.
Baldoz said that the wage boards will consult with other government agencies, as well as employers and labor organizations, in their conduct of studies to determine if prevailing wage and socio-economic conditions would warrant wage adjustments, as the wage rules provide.
“Our Regional Wage Boards are assessing the needs of workers and their families, the capacity of employers to pay, the comparable wages and incomes across regions, and the economic development requirements in the light of prevailing socio-economic conditions in every region,” Baldoz explained.
In 2015, The DOLE, through its reform measure, the Two Tiered Wage System, made sure that the poverty threshold gaps of the 30 wage rates were closed.
The RTWPBs also issued 10 wage orders, 11 implementing rules and regulations, and one Advisory on performance-based pay scheme. The 16 RTWPBs also produced 160 regional wage price situation reports and conducted 44 public hearings/wage consultations.
Baldoz also directed the Regional Wage Boards to intensify its review of the regional socio-economic indicators, while adhering to the wage reform framework which calls for regular, predictable, and moderate wage increases.
The two-tiered wage system, a key reform program of the DOLE, consists of a mandatory floor or minimum wage as a shield for vulnerable workers, and of a voluntary productivity-based incentive scheme to encourage productivity improvement through bipartite, meaning employers and workers, negotiations.
The wage reform measure is aimed at providing more effective protection to low paid workers by setting a genuine floor or minimum wage as well as to encourage productivity and enterprise growth.