Press Release
June 30, 2023

Villanueva: Clarifying living wage criteria is the way to go

Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva said that clarifying the criteria of what constitutes a living wage is the way to go to provide for nourishment and general well-being of a family of five consistent with the country's direction in Ambisyon 2040.

Villanueva made the call after the National Capital Region (NCR) Regional Wage Board approved a P40 wage hike for the daily minimum wage of workers in the region.

"There is no sugar-coating the situation of Filipino workers - the minimum wage as presently determined is not enough for a family of five to live decently. Hindi na po pantay ang kinikita ng bawat manggagawang Pilipino sa taas ng bilihin ngayon," Villanueva said.

Senate Bill No. 2140, filed by Villanueva, seeks to amend the wage fixing criteria in the Labor Code of the Philippines to put living wage in the front and center in the determination of regional minimum wage. The bill provides that living wage must ensure the employees' and their families' nourishment, clothing, shelter and education, and general well-being.

He said Filipinos who receive the current daily minimum wage from P306 to P570 have to make do with these amounts for the family's daily needs such as food, transportation, medicine, shelter and education, and a P40 wage increase will not make a dent.

Citing a study of the IBON Foundation, a family of five in the National Capital Region (NCR) needs at least P1,160 a day to live decently.

"This means that the NCR minimum wage is only half of the required living wage," Villanueva said.

"The Constitution itself guarantees to all workers the right to a living wage. This is the intent of our bill," he added.

"It is important that we have clear standards which will serve as a basis in considering proposed wage increases to ensure a right balance in affording workers their families' basic needs and sustainability and competitiveness of business," he said.

In determining the regional minimum wages, the bill stressed that the "estimated cost of living for a determined size of a family in the region" shall be considered.

Other relevant factors include the "wage adjustment vis-a-vis the consumer price index; the needs of workers and their families; the need to induce industries to invest in the countryside; improvements in the standards of living; the prevailing wage levels; and, equitable distribution of income and wealth along the imperatives of economic and social development."

Villanueva pointed out that there are laws which grant reprieve to businesses on the payment of minimum wage, in recognition of their financial ability to cope with rising prices. For example, barangay micro-business enterprises are exempt from complying with the minimum wage, while enterprises employing less than 10 employees may, in certain circumstances, also be exempted from the payment of minimum wage.


Villanueva: Panahon na para magkaroon ng malinaw na Living Wage Criteria

Dapat umanong linawin ang kriterya kung paano matutukoy ang living wage na makakapagbigay ng nourishment at general well-being sa isang pamilya na may limang miyembro, alinsunod sa direksiyon ng Ambisyon 2040, ayon kay Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva.

Nanawagan si Villanueva matapos aprubahan ng National Capital Region (NCR) Regional Wage Board ang P40 wage hike para sa daily minimum wage ng mga manggagawa sa Metro Manila.

"There is no sugar-coating the situation of Filipino workers - the minimum wage as presently determined is not enough for a family of five to live decently. Hindi na po pantay ang kinikita ng bawat manggagawang Pilipino sa taas ng bilihin ngayon," sabi ni Villanueva.

Sa Senate Bill No. 2140 na inihain ni Villanueva, layunin nitong amiyendahan ang wage fixing criteria ng Labor Code of the Philippines para ilagay ang living wage o sahod sa sentro ng pagtukoy ng regional minimum wage.

Nakasaad din sa panukala na dapat tiyakin na ang living wage na natatanggap ng mga manggagawa ay makakatulong para mabigyan ng sapat ng pagkain, damit, tirahan at edukasyon at general well-being ang kanilang pamilya.

Sabi pa ni Villanueva, pinagkakasya lamang ng mga Pilipinong manggagawa ang kasalukuyang daily minimum wage na P306 hanggang P570 para sa pang-araw-araw na pangangailangan ng kanilang pamilya tulad ng pagkain, transportasyon, gamot, tirahan at edukasyon.

Batay sa pag-aaral ng IBON Foundation, ang isang pamilya na binubuo ng lima sa NCR ay kailangan ng P1,160 kada araw para magkaroon ng disenteng pamumuhay.

"This means that the NCR minimum wage is only half of the required living wage," ayon kay Villanueva.

"The Constitution itself guarantees to all workers the right to a living wage. This is the intent of our bill," dagdag niya.

"It is important that we have clear standards which will serve as a basis in considering proposed wage increases to ensure a right balance in affording workers their families' basic needs and sustainability and competitiveness of business," sambit pa ng Majority Leader.

Sa pagtukoy ng regional minimum wages, nakasaad sa panukala na dapat ikonsidera ng "estimated cost of living" base sa laki ng isang pamilya sa rehiyon. Ang iba pang konsiderasyon ay ang mga sumusunod: "wage adjustment vis-a-vis consumer price index; the needs of workers and their families; the need to induce industries to invest in the countryside; improvements in the standards of living; the prevailing wage levels; and, equitable distribution of income and wealth along the imperatives of economic and social development."

Punto pa ni Villanueva, may mga batas na nagbibigay ng reprieve sa mga negosyo sa pagbabayad ng minimum wage, bilang pagkilala sa kanilang financial ability upang makayanan ang tumataas na presyo ng mga bilihin at serbisyo. Halimbawa, ang mga barangay micro-business enterprises ay exempted sa pagsunod sa minimum wage habang ang negosyo na may empleyado na hindi bababa sa sampu ay libre din sa pagbabayad ng minimum wage.

__________________________

Here's the copy of Senate Bill No. 2140:

http://legacy.senate.gov.ph/lisdata/4153037817!.pdf

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