Lawmakers push for nationwide wage hike

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 14) — Lawmakers from the Senate and House of Representatives are pushing to raise the wages of employees in the private sector across all regions.

Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri on Monday filed Senate Bill 2002, or the Across-the-Board Wage Increase Act of 2023, which seeks a pay increase of ₱150 nationwide.

"If workers are putting in hours and hours of labor, day after day, and yet are still unable to afford their rent, bills, and basic necessities, then there is a problem," Zubiri said in a statement.

Although Regional Wages and Productivity Boards decide on the minimum wages in the private sector, they are constrained to issuing only one wage order per year, unless they declare supervening conditions, Zubiri added.

The proposed wage hike will apply to the entire private sector, agricultural and non-agricultural, regardless of capitalization and number of employees.

Meanwhile, the Makabayan bloc submitted on Tuesday a bill calling for a ₱750 wage hike.

"Workers ought to receive higher remuneration for all their hard work," the explanatory note read.

House Bill 7568 was filed by Gabriela Party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas, ACT Teachers Party-list Rep. France Castro, and Kabataan Party-list Rep. Raoul Manuel.

The call to increase wages has "become extremely urgent" to "close the gap between the current minimum wage and the calculated family living wage" nationwide, they said.

Citing think tank IBON Foundation, the Makabayan bloc said the ₱570 minimum wage in Metro Manila is only 49.1% of the ₱1,161 family living wage in the country.

Last January, the country's inflation rate accelerated to 8.7%, the fastest since November 2008.

READ: PH inflation heats up further to 8.7% in January 

However, it slightly decreased in February to 8.6%.

The last legislative wage increase was approved under Republic Act No. 6727, or the Wage Rationalization Act of 1989, which granted a ₱58 to ₱89 minimum wage from a ₱33 to ₱54 daily pay.