New law gives annual salary hikes to gov't workers until 2023

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 9) — President Rodrigo Duterte has signed a new lawlaw granting annual salary increases to government employees this year up to 2023.

“We would like to confirm the enactment and the signing of the Salary Standardization Law for 2019 this was certified as urgent by the President,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Thursday.

The Salary Standardization Law of 2019 would grant a new round of pay hikes for state workers, which would translate to an average 5% increase this year. This is the fifth law ensuring pay hikes to state employees.

The President fast-tracked the approval of the measure on Wednesday when he certified the bill as urgent, allowing both the House and Senate to pass the bill on second and third reading in one day before Congress adjourned for the holidays.

“In fact, during his State of the Nation Address, [the President] mentioned about this,” Panelo said.

Panelo noted that under Duterte’s initiative, the law will benefit the “hardworking men and women in the government, including the most neglected sector in the bureaucracy.”

“This measure will rationalize the compensation of all civilian personnel including those in the legislative and judicial branches as well as of local government units under certain conditions, the purpose of which is to create an atmosphere which would promote excellence in service providing for a performance-based incentive  scheme to reward outstanding public servants,” he added.

Under the measure, the implementation of the four tranches will begin annually every first of January starting 2020 until 2023.

The government allotted a budget of ₱34 billion to fund the pay hike under the proposed ₱4.1-trillion 2020 budget.

However, under the four-year period, Salary Grade 1 employees will only get an increase of ₱500 per year in their monthly salary.

The lowest monthly salary in government would stand at ₱11,551 this year, and will rise to ₱13,000 per month by 2023. The adjustments will kick in every January 1.

Meanwhile, salaries of senators and House members will now be at least ₱262,965 monthly, while the President will get ₱395,858 on a monthly basis. By the fourth year of implementation, lawmakers' monthly pay will rise to at least ₱278,434 while the President's will increase to ₱419,144.

In 2019, Department of Budget and Management issued a circular stating that members of Congress, who are under Salary Grade 31, received between ₱257,809 and ₱295,191. The President’s salary, which falls under Salary Grade 33, was at a minimum of ₱388,096.

The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition said in a statement that while they are thankful, the amount given to them was “far from what they expected,” which is supposedly a ₱10,000-hike for public school teachers and personnel of the Department of Education.

A Teacher I under Salary Grade 11 had a basic monthly salary of ₱20,754 in 2019.

Panelo said that the promise of the President will still be complied with, “maybe not this year, but his term has not yet ended.”

Separately, nurses in public hospitals and health institutions would get a big lift in their monthly paychecks as government implements a Supreme Court decision that would put them under Salary Grade 15 from 11 previously. This would mean that entry-level nurses can earn ₱32,053 in a month by 2020.

The higher base pay also means that state workers will get bigger mid-year, 13th month, and year-end bonuses, which are indexed from their salary grade.

Under the measure, those working for national government agencies will source the salary hikes from the 2020 General Appropriations Act, local government units from their respective local government funds, and government owned and controlled corporations from their respective funds in the corporate operating budgets approved by the Department of Budget and Management.