Manila's minimum-wage workers to get pay raise

The Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) for minimum-wage earners in Metro Manila will soon be raised to P30 per day, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) announced Friday.

"The wage board has decided to provide workers with the pay increase to enable them to cope with the rising cost of living, taking into consideration, among other factors, of the viability of business and industry, inflation rate, and the average inflation rate of basic prime commodities for the period June 2011 to April 2012," Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said in a press statement.

The COLA for Metro Manila workers is currently at P22 a day.

Wage Order NCR-17 will raise the Cost of Living Allowance but the increase is lower than the P90 across-the-board pay hike that the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines asked for, DOLE said.

The increased COLA will be payable in two tranches. The first increase of P20 will be effective 15 days after the wage order is published in national newspapers and will raise the daily minimum wage to P446.

The remaining amount will be payable starting in November, further raising the minimum wage to P456 a day.

"The wage order applies to all minimum wage earners in the region, except household or domestic workers, persons in the personal service of another, including family drivers, and workers of duly-registered Barangay Micro Business Enterprises," DOLE said.

The wage order does not cover employers who raised their workers' salaries recently, however. DOLE said "any increase granted three months prior to the effectivity of the wage order shall be considered as compliance with the required increase."

Under the current minimum-wage scheme, workers earn P426 a day. The NWPC notes, however, that because of inflation, the minimum wage has a real value in goods of just P346.

"In the course of the Board’s evaluation of existing socio-economic conditions in the region, and after conduct of public consultations and public hearing, the Board saw the need to provide immediate relief to workers in the NCR due to increases in the prices of oil products and basic goods and services," the wage commission said.

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