Process is now more liberal, requirements easy to comply with
DOLE’s NWPC amends rules on wage hike exemption for calamity-affected establishments

Establishments adversely affected by natural and human-induced disasters that have sustained property damage of at least 50 percent and whose recovery will exceed one year may now claim for exemption for a longer period from compliance with prescribed wage increases/cost-of-living allowances granted by Regional Tripartite Wage and Productivity Boards, or RTWPBs .

Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz announced this yesterday after the National Wages and Productivity Commission, or NWPC, approved a resolution, Resolution No. 1, Series of 2014, amending NWPC Guidelines No. 2, Series of 2007 which spells out the rules on exemption from RTWPBs-issued wage orders.

“Natural and human-induced disasters affect business operations and results to establishments experiencing temporary difficulties due to financial losses which necessitate government to step in and extend urgent assistance,” Baldoz said.

“The NWPC amendments to the 2007 Rules on Exemption liberalize the process and requirements for calamity-affected enterprises to qualify for exemption,” she added.

The resolution, unanimously approved by the members of the NWPC Board, namely, Ciriaco A. Lagunzad III, Chairperson-Designate; National Economic and Development Authority Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan, Vice-Chairperson; Cedric R. Bagtas and David L. Diwa Jr., Labor Sector Representatives; Francisco R. Floro and Eduardo T. Rondain, Employer Sector Representatives; and NWPC Executive Director Maria Criselda R. Sy, will take effect 15 days after publication in a newspaper of general circulation.

The NWPC Board expanded the concept of “calamity”, “hazard”, and “disaster” to include both natural–such as typhoons, floods, earthquakes, tsunami, volcanic eruption, drought, pest infestation, etc., and human-induced–such as economic sabotage, financial crisis, rebellion, war, etc.–for purposes of the exemption.

It also ordered the RTWPBs to include in wage orders without exemption provision “a statement that in case of a calamity, the Board may accept applications for exemption for establishments adversely affected by calamities, such as natural and/or human-induced disasters.

“The calamity must have occurred within six months prior to the effectivity of a wage order,” the resolution reads.

Secretary Baldoz said the most important part of the amendment is the extension of the exemption period to one year.

“If the damage to properties of the establishment is at least 50 percent, based on the assessment of a competent authority, and the period of recovery will exceed one year, the six-month period of exemption may be extended to one year,” Baldoz explained.

The NWPC Board also allows RTWPBs to re-open the period for the filing of exemption applications if the calamity occurred after the expiration of the period for the filing of an exemption application.

Applicant-establishments, however, need to submit a certification that a general assembly to explain to its workers its intent to file an application for exemption has been conducted prior to the filing of the application, and an undertaking to conduct another general assembly to inform the workers of the decision of the RTWPB on its application.

To simplify the documentary requirements, the resolution provides that a certification by the barangay and photos of the damaged property or properties may be submitted in lieu of audited financial statements.

END/letmaring

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