BAGUIO CITY – The Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) in the Cordillera revealed that complaints about noncompliance with the newly implemented Wage Order No. Rb-CAR-18 should be filed with the regional office of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) having jurisdiction over the workplace and shall be subjected to the mandatory 30-day conciliation and mediation process under the single entry approach.
However, Augusto Aquillo, RTWPB-CAR board secretary, explained that if settlement fails, the case becomes the subject of enforcement proceedings under the pertinent provisions of the Labor Code as amended.
He added no provisions in the new wage order shall be construed to reduce or eliminate any existing wage rates, allowances and benefits of any form under existing laws, decrees, issuances, executive orders or under any contract or agreement between the workers and employers or employer practices or policies being enjoyed by the workers prior to the issuance of the new order.
Aquillo asserted where effects of the approved wage increase provided by the new order result in the distortion of wage structures within an establishment, the same shall be corrected in accordance with the procedure pursuant to the Labor Code of the Philippines.
Under the new wage order, any person, corporation, trust, firm, partnership, association or entity which refuses or fails to pay the prescribed wage increase shall be punished by a fine not less than P25,000 nor more than P100,000 or imprisonment of not less than 2 years nor more than 4 years or both such fine and imprisonment at the discretion of the court; provided, that any person convicted under the order shall not be entitled to the benefits provided under the probation law.
Further, the employer concerned shall be ordered to pay an amount equivalent to double the unpaid benefits owing to the employees; provided, that payment of indemnity shall not absolve the employer from the criminal liability impossible under the existing laws, rules and regulations.
If the violation is committed by a corporation, trust or firm, partnership, association or any other entity, the penalty of imprisonment shall be imposed upon the entity’s responsible officers, including but not limited to the president, vice president, chief executive officer, general manager, managing director or partner.
Any party aggrieved by the wage order may file a verified appeal with the Commission through the board within 10 calendar days from the publication of the order and that the filing of the appeal does not operate to stay the order unless the party appealing such order shall file with the Commission an undertaking with a surety satisfactory to the Commission for payment of the corresponding increases for covered employees in the event the order is affirmed.
The RTWPB-CAR emphasized no preliminary or permanent injunction or temporary restraining order may be issued by any court, tribunal or other entity against any proceedings before the Commission or board and that the new wage order shall not be construed to prevent workers in particular firms or enterprises of industries from bargaining for higher wages and flexible working arrangements with their employers.