Senate sees ‘graduated’ wage hike scheme as solution to blows to MSMEs — Zubiri
MANILA, Philippines — The Senate is considering implementing a “graduated” wage hike scheme under the Across-the-Board Wage Increase Act of 2023 to cushion financial blows to micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), according to Senate President Migz Zubiri.
Zubiri said that legislative pay hikes for private minimum wage workers under Senate Bill (SB) 2002 might differ for each company depending on their income generation.
“Ang paki-usap ni Senator Jinggoy Estrada sakin— chairman of [Labor, Employment and Human Resources]— tingnan natin kung puwede nating gawin graduated for MSMEs [ang wage hike], para sa ganun, yung mga livelihood ng mga maliliit na negosyo, ang livelihood ng mga SMEs, ay hindi apektado,” he said at the Kapihan sa Manila Bay media forum on Wednesday.
(Senator Jinggoy Estrada — chairman of Labor, Employment, and Human Resources — appealed that we look into the possibility of a graduated pay hike for MSMEs so that the livelihoods of small businesses and SMEs will not be affected.)
Under the wage increase act, private corporations would be required to raise the daily wage of their workers by P150.
Zubiri noted that this hike would be heavier on the shoulders of small to medium businesses relative to large corporations.
“Dahil malaki naman talaga pag almost P3,000 a month dagdag sa suweldo ng iba’t ibang mga workers [ng mga MSMEs]. So we can do a graduated [scheme] depending on the income generated by the corporations,” he added.
(P3,000 a month in pay raises is truly a big amount for MSMEs. So we can do a graduated scheme depending on the income generated by the corporations.)
“That is subject to amendments, subject to debate… What is important is, bilang senado, yan po ang aming pangako na aaksyunan po natin niyan… This is going to be a statement of the senate,” Zubiri added.
(That is subject to amendments, subject to debate. What is important is, as a senate, we promise to take action on this… This is going to be a statement of the Senate.)
Zubiri stated that the graduated scheme would follow the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) asset size categories in determining graduation degrees for wage increases.
“The DTI labels you and categorizes you on micro, small, and medium enterprises. So the law can be channeled that way if there are amendments to the law that will basically make it graduate for MSMEs. For the larger corporations, which have over 100 million in assets and income, ‘yan ay ibang grado. Ibang level po ang legislative wage hike,” he explained.
(The DTI labels and categorizes you on micro, small, and medium enterprises. So the law can be channeled that way if there are amendments to the law that will basically make it graduate for MSMEs. For the larger corporations, which have over 100 million in assets and income, this is a different scale. Their legislative wage hike will be of a different level.)
According to the Senate president, specifics of this graduated scheme are yet to be discussed. Zubiri notes, however, that the upper chamber will try to pass the bill before the session break.
The Senate Committee on Labor, Employment, and Human Resources is set to begin deliberations on May 10 on this and various other measures seeking to raise worker benefits and salaries.