3 Cebu firms seek wage hike exemption

SunStar File Photo
SunStar File Photo

ONLY three firms in Central Visayas have sought an exemption from the P33 wage hike implemented last Oct. 1, 2023.

Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) 7 Director Lilia Estillore said private enterprises had until Nov. 29 to submit exemption applications.

However, she did not specify the nature of business of the three firms, which are all based in Cebu.

In an interview with SunStar Cebu on Thursday, Dec. 7, Estillore said employers were granted a 75-day window to conduct a thorough assessment of their financial capabilities and workforce requirements to determine their eligibility for exemption from the latest wage hike.

Estillore noted that the number of establishments applying for exemption this year is significantly lower than the previous year’s figures for the P31 wage increase, which had eight establishments seeking exemption.

She said to qualify for exemption, businesses must consistently employ no more than 10 workers and have faced adverse effects from natural disasters or human-induced calamities.

For businesses with fewer than 10 employees, they must belong to the retail and service category and have maintained their workforce below the required number for at least six months to be eligible.

Establishments applying for exemption due to calamity-related reasons must demonstrate that the calamity occurred within six months before the effective date of the wage order.

The labor official, who also serves as chairperson of the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) 7, attributed the decrease in figures to the removal of grounds related to the Covid-19 pandemic as a reason for exemption.

She said most of the requests last year cited pandemic-related challenges.


Estillore also said companies risk getting penalized if their request is denied. The penalty is one percent interest per day on the unpaid salary until the increase is enforced.

She said the three firms will find out if their request was approved 50 days from the deadline or on Jan. 18, 2024.

Of the eight establishments that sought exemption last year, only four were approved by the RTWPB 7, she said.

Last Sep. 15, Wage Order ROVII-24 was announced, implementing a P33 wage increase in the private sector in Central Visayas. As a result of this regulation, the minimum wage in Class A areas will be P468 from P435; Class B areas, P430 from P397; and Class C areas, P420 from P387.

Class A covers the cities of Carcar, Cebu, Danao, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, Naga, Talisay, and the municipalities of Compostela, Consolacion, Cordova, Liloan, Minglanilla and San Fernando.

Cities not covered under Class A fall under Class B, while municipalities not in Class A or B are categorized as Class C.

For agriculture and non-agriculture establishments with fewer than 10 workers, the daily minimum wage will range from P415 to P458, depending on the area classification.


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