A photo of a Jollibee poster in San Diego, California looking to hire service staff for US$16 an hour has sparked a discussion about the disparity between labor wages in the Philippines and abroad.
Ralph Tan Posadas, who is based in California, posted his photo of the poster on social media, where it has garnered over 8,800 shares as of writing.
His post originally only included a conversion of how much that dollar wage would be worth in pesos — a crew member would stand to earn PHP 899.58 an hour or PHP7,196.64 a day, amounting to a salary of PHP155,932 a month.
For reference, the minimum wage in the National Capital Region is PHP570 daily, with Metro Manila minimum wage earners taking home a meager PHP17,100 each month.
But while a salary nearly 10 times that amount certainly sounds appealing, the post launched a wave of conversations on the relative worth of that wage, with many Filipinos based in the United States arguing that the cost of living in America is incomparable to the prices back home, even with rising inflation rates.
“That’s just a small amount of money. Remember, people here spend in dollars too,” one commenter reminded.
“This is roughly 2600 dollars. Even for the US, this is low — not to mention that this does not include tax and other employment deductions. This post does not mention the living cost in America has skyrocketed. Try to visit America so everyone would have an idea,” another argued.
Filipinos living in the US pointed out that the salary would barely be enough to afford a one-bedroom apartment.
“Rent can set you back US$1500 a month, and that’s on the lower end. Don’t convert dollars into pesos if you’re not willing to take cost of living into account,” one user commented.
“You’re earning US$16, but your breakfast would cost US$10,” one said.
“Sure, get paid US$16 an hour in California, if you’re ready to sleep on the streets,” another quipped.
After the initial wave of folks pointing out these disparities, Posadas added this to his original post’s caption in response:
Thanks for your comments for those commenting about cost of living we are not comparing cost of living here because it is obviously different between the two countries.
We are showing economies of scale. This is how Filipino Green Card Resident Aliens, Filipino-Americans, US Citizens, and even illegal aliens working the USA illegally are able to send alomost $ 13 BILLION dollars last year 2021.
Filipinos in the USA are very resourceful no matter how small they earn they are still able to send to their loved ones, family, relatives, and friends in the Philippines. Their financial sacrifices are mostly not being considered as the recipients in the Philippine benefit from their hard work and sacrifice.
While many commenters griped about the fact that the posted wage would hardly set one up with a comfortable life in the US, others highlighted the different stances Jollibee has taken in regard to employment here and abroad.
The fast food giant previously came under fire for having much of their staff made up of short-term contract workers who were not entitled to employee benefits in addition to minimum-wage pay. The Philippine government ordered Jollibee to regularize over 6,000 of its contract workers in 2018.
Meanwhile, California’s current minimum wage is set at US$15.
“This means Jollibee can actually afford to pay their staff higher wages here,” one pointed out.
“So what is the difference between a fast-food worker here and one abroad? How come Jollibee can pay their staff under PHP30,000 here, when they can obviously pay that much?” another questioned.