Makabayan bloc seeks P750-minimum wage nationwide
The House Makabayan bloc filed on Monday a proposed measure seeking to increase the national minimum wage to P750 in a bid to “ease the suffering” of Filipinos due to the implementation of the Tax Reform Acceleration and Inclusion (Train) Law.
The lawmakers also called on President Rodrigo Duterte and Congress to prioritize their House Bill 7787, saying that the national minimum wage should be returned to a national wage standard.
At present, the National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC) pegged the minimum wage for non-agriculture workers in the National Capital Region (Metro Manila) at P512 for an average workday of eight hours, or 40 hours a week.
“The minimum wage must be reverted to a national wage standard. Almost all prices of basic goods and services being traded in all regions are similar nationwide. Some are even higher in regions outside of NCR because of the transportation cost. It is gravely wrong to peg as lower the standard of living of regions outside Metro Manila because it is not reflective of the real situation,” Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate said.
“Pres. Duterte and the leadership of both Houses of Congress should make the P750 national minimum wage (NMW) bill as part of their priority legislation and fast-track its approval,” he added.
Zarate, ACT-Teachers Reps. Antonio Tinio and France Castro, Gabriela Reps. Emmi de Jesus and Arlene Brosas, Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao, and Kabataan Rep. Sarah Elago authored the bill.
If passed into law, the daily statutory minimum wages of private sector workers in both agricultural and non-agricultural enterprises nationwide would be increased to a uniform national minimum wage rate of P750.
The proposed measure, which also seeks to amend the Labor Code, specifically aims to abolish the NWPC and its 17 Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards (RTWPBs), which has been mandated to fix and regulate the minimum wage in the provinces.
Thus, the Makabayan lawmakers pointed out, the wage-setting function will be restored to Congress and a uniform P750 national minimum wage will be legislated.
Upon its enactment into law, subsequent implementation would warrant a yearly adjustment of the minimum wage of workers across the country by the President.
The bill also mandates stiffer fines for employees who would fail to pay their employees the minimum wage. From the current P25,000- to P100,000-fine for violators, the bill wants the fine to become a “fixed 100 percent of the total amount of the wage increment due the employees to be multiplied by the number of working days the wage increment has been unpaid to.”
“… (O)r imprisonment of not less than three years nor more than five years, or both such fine and imprisonment at the discretion of the court,” the proposed measure likewise stated.
The employer concerned would also be ordered to pay its employees for moral damages, amounting to P50,000 each, plus an amount equivalent to double the unpaid benefits owed to the employees. But, the bill authors noted, these moral damages and indemnity would not absolve the employer from the criminal liability imposable under the Act.
Further, the proposed measure wants the business permit of the violating employer or entity to be suspended for one month to three years for the second offense, and eventually canceled should the employer or entity violates the law for the third time. /kga
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