Dole rules out pay hike to begin 2014

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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

DESPITE the series of increase in prices of basic commodities, the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) has ruled any possible increase in salary rates at the beginning of the year.

In a recent interview, Dole Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said it is highly unlikely that Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards (RTWPBs) will grant pay hikes prior to the anniversary of their previous wage orders.

“They will have to wait for their anniversary… It (new wage orders) depends on their respective anniversaries,” said Baldoz.

She said that there can be no wage adjustments within the one-year period from the last issuance of wage orders unless there is a so-called “supervening condition."

“Based on the existing data, there is no exceptional increase in prices (of basic commodities),” said Baldoz.

Similarly, she noted that the recent increases in prices of basic commodities were also factored in during the wage consultations for the most recent wage orders.

“It was already included in the discussions during the public consultations,” said Baldoz.

To note, the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) was set to raise electricity rates by more than P4 per kilowatt-hour until it was stopped by the Supreme Court last week.

Over the past few weeks, gas prices have also been on a steady rise, particularly diesel, kerosene and gasoline.

Aside from the two, also looming are increases in the fare hike in the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) and Light Rail Transit (LRT).

This has prompted Anak Pawis Party-list Representative Fernando Hicap to re-file the P125 Wage Hike Bill or House Bill 253.

But while Baldoz ruled out possible wage hikes any time soon, the second part of the RTWPB-NCR Wage Order No. 18 is set to take effect Wednesday.

According to the said order, a total of P15 of the existing P30 Cost of Living Allowance (Cola) shall be integrated into the basic wage effective January 1, 2014.

It can be recalled that the NCR Wage Order No. 18 had granted an additional P10 to the basic wage of workers in Metro Manila beginning October 4, 2013 to bring the basic pay to P436 plus an additional P30-Cola for a total wage rate of P466.

But with the integration of the P15-Cola, the basic wage shall be P451 plus the additional P15-Cola for a total wage rate of P466.

It should be noted that the Cola is part of the minimum wage, but shall be excluded from the computation of wage related benefits such as overtime pay, night differential, and 13th month pay.

On the other hand, it forms part of the computation of mandatory contributions to the Social Security System (SSS), Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), and Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-ibig). (HDT/Sunnex)

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