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Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Senate bill aims to hike private sector wages

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Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri filed Senate Bill No. 2002, or the Across-the-Board Wage Increase Act of 2023, which seeks to raise wages in the private sector across all regions by P150.

“A decent life costs a decent wage,” Zubiri said, adding that “if workers are putting in hours and hours of labor, day after day, and yet are still unable to afford their rent, bills, and basic necessities, then there is a problem.”

At the Senate, Zubiri said lawmakers are addressing the collective bargaining of the employees’ union for increased benefits, in accordance with the rising costs of commodities.

“And now, with this bill, I hope to answer similar calls from workers across the country, with an across-the-board wage hike.” 

The proposed wage hike will apply to the entire private sector, agricultural and non-agricultural, regardless of capitalization and number of employees.

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At present, the National Capital Region has the highest daily nominal wage rate, at P570 (non-agriculture), while the lowest is at P316 (non-agriculture), for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Though the prescription of minimum wages in the private sector falls under the ambit of the Regional Wages and Productivity Boards, they are constrained to issuing only one wage order per year, unless they declare supervening conditions.

At the start of the year, the Philippines saw its highest inflation rate in fourteen years, hitting 8.7 percent. February welcomed a marginal decrease to 8.6 percent. 

“While our GDP is going up, we have to make sure that our economic growth actually cascades to our people. Otherwise, we’re just widening the gap between rich and poor. What we want is to lift everyone up, broaden our middle-income class, and ensure that every Filipino has the means to enjoy a genuinely decent life,” he said. 

“That means empowering people not just to survive, but to actually achieve a level of comfort that allows them to pursue their personal goals and interests, beyond just their work.”

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