Tax breaks, new jobs better than wage hike, employers say
Weeks after the announcement of possible wage hikes next year, the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (Ecop) said on Friday that the government should focus instead on tax breaks and job creation rather than raising the minimum wage.
“The government should find nonwage measures that will apply to everyone rather than addressing it with measures helping the few at the expense of others,” Ecop president Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr. told the Inquirer in an interview.
“Among others, these can be tax breaks, [financial aid], job creation,” Ortiz-Luis said when asked what these measures are.
On Nov. 8, the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) ordered the regional wage boards to review whether another round of increases for minimum wage earners could be imposed next year to cushion the impact of soaring prices of goods.
Previously, the Ecop official said that only about 10 percent of the total number of workers in the Philippines are minimum wage earners, indicating that the remaining 90 percent will not receive relief from possible price increases that may result from such a move.
The Department of Trade and Industry said on Thursday that they are studying price increase requests from local manufacturers, citing appeals for upward price adjustments for canned goods, milk, bread, instant noodles, salt, soy sauce, laundry soap, toilet soap and candles.
The trade department said they will issue a new suggested retail prices bulletin around January to reflect any price increases which they deem to be necessary.
MSMEs to feel brunt of hike
According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, 47.58 million Filipinos were employed as of September 2022, meaning that about 4.8 million are minimum wage earners while the remaining 42.8 million are above the threshold.
Ortiz-Luis also said that about 90 percent of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are microbusinesses which have less than 10 employees and such enterprises are ill-equipped to absorb the costs associated with a wage hike.
MSMEs also make up around 99 percent of businesses in the country, serving as the backbone of the Philippine economy.
In contrast, Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion, an advocate for MSMEs, expressed a tempered view of salary hikes, suggesting that a mandatory minimum wage increase be given only to employees of micro and small enterprises.
Concepcion reasoned that employees of medium companies can be grouped with large companies, many of which have collective bargaining agreements with their workers.
P33,000 minimum wage proposed nationwide
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