NWPC relaxes wage exemption rules in calamity-hit areas

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Friday, May 9, 2014


THE National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC) has decided to relax its rules on accepting exemption to wage adjustments by business establishments in calamity-hit areas.

Quoting NWPC Resolution No. 1-2014, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said the 2007 Rules on Exemption is being liberalized as a way for the government to extend further assistance to victims of natural and human-induced disasters.

"Natural and human-induced disasters affect business operations and results to establishments experiencing temporary difficulties due to financial losses, which necessitate government to step in and extend urgent assistance," Baldoz said.

"The NWPC amendments liberalize the process and requirements for calamity-affected enterprises to qualify for exemption," she added.

Among the amendments, the NWPC expanded the definition of "calamity", "hazard", and "disaster" to include typhoons, floods, earthquakes, tsunami, volcanic eruption, drought, pest infestation, and so forth as natural; and economic sabotage, financial crisis, rebellion, war, and so forth for human-induced.

"Establishments adversely affected by natural and human-induced disasters that have sustained property damage of at least 50 percent and whose recovery will exceed one year may now claim for exemption," said the NWPC.

Similarly, the wage agency decided to extend the exemption period to one year from the current six months.

"If the damage to properties of the establishment is at least 50 percent, based on the assessment of a competent authority, and the period of recovery will exceed one year, the six-month period of exemption may be extended to one year," Baldoz said.

Also, the NWPC said regional wage boards are directed to include in their wage orders' without exemption provisions a statement that "in case of a calamity, the Board may accept applications for exemption for establishments adversely affected by calamities, such as natural and/or human-induced disasters."

"The calamity must have occurred within six months prior to the effectivity of a wage order," the resolution noted.

Also, the NWPC also allows regional wage boards to re-open the period for the filing of exemption applications if the calamity occurred after the expiration of the period for the filing of an exemption application.

Wage exemption allows business establishments not to comply with the minimum wage set in a particular region by the wage board. (Sunnex)

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