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DBM proposes new salary standardization law

By Vicente Labro
Inquirer
First Posted 15:28:00 10/12/2006

Filed Under: State Budget & Taxes, Wages & Pensions

TACLOBAN CITY -- Secretary Rolando Andaya Jr. said the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) will file in Congress before the end of the year a proposed new salary standardization law that promises not only to increase state workers? salaries but also bring them to par with employees in the private sector.

For the next year, DBM has allotted P10.3 billion for wage increases but the total expenditure program for the proposed Salary Standardization Law (SSL) III is almost P100 billion over four years' time, Andaya said.

Andaya said SSL III would cure the problem of low salaries and disparity in pay among the more than one million government workers.

Low salaries, he said, are the reason some teachers end up working in Hong Kong as domestic helpers and why some government doctors are now nurses.

He disclosed that the DBM made a "conservative study" comparing salaries in a medium-scale private corporation with those of government.

"And we found out that as the rank goes higher the disparity between the government and that of the private sector becomes bigger," he said. "You actually see the difference from Salary Grade 10 going up."

"The higher the educational attainment, the more you are punished," Andaya said, apparently referring to teachers, doctors and other professionals who receive salaries much lower than their counterparts in the private sector.

"We will now try to move towards (solving the problem), to increase the salary (of state workers) using as a benchmark the private sector."

But Andaya said that III is not only about salary increases. "There will be a lot of changes; not only a salary increase per se, but we also offer unholy hour compensation.?

He added that the existing 33 salary grades will be trimmed down to 22 and that promotions to higher salary grades will be based on performance.

"We also want to make sense of all our allowances, all the benefits we get...We want to make a general rule for everybody to follow to make sense of everything," Andaya said.

Andaya, however, expressed apprehension that some politicians, with an eye on the May 2007 elections, might come up with another scheme like across-the-board salary increases, which might bring in some votes but do not address real problems like the disparities in wages.

"So, we need your support to lobby with the congressmen, the senators, to explain to them the merits (of the SSL III)," he told an audience composed of heads of government offices here and local officials during a gathering Wednesday afternoon at the DBM regional office in this city.

With the approval of the supplemental budget, Andaya also announced that the DBM would give to local government units not later than this December the differential for their Internal Revenue Allotment IRA this year.

He said he would issue a memorandum next week on how much more each local government unit would be getting by December.



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