The Cordillera office of the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB-CAR) recently issued separate wage orders granting separate increases in the minimum wage of daily wage earners and domestic workers in the region.
Under Wage Order No. CAR-2022, minimum wage earners in the private sector in the region will be receiving a P30 increase in their basic daily wage that will peg the minimum wage from P400 to P430.
On the other hand, Wage Order No. CAR-DW-05 provided that the new monthly minimum wage of domestic workers in the region shall be P4,900 from the previous rate of P4,500 or an increase of P400 per month.
The wage board stated that the daily wage increase for daily minimum wage earners, regardless of their position, designation or status and irrespective of the method by which their wages are paid shall apply to the concerned workers.
However, where the application of the wage rates results in distortions in the wage structure within an establishment, the same shall be corrected pursuant with the procedure provided for under Article 124 of the labor code as amended.
Among the establishments that can apply for exemption from compliance with the wage order that will take effect on December 5, 2023 include retail or service establishments regularly employing not more than 10 workers and establishments adversely affected by natural calamities and/or human induced disasters.
Any person, corporation, trust, firm, partnership, association or entity who refuses or fails to pay the prescribed increase shall be dealt with pursuant to the provisions of Section 12 of Republic Act 6727 as amended by RA 8188.
On the part of the domestic workers, the wage order shall apply to all domestic workers, whether or on live in or live out arrangement, such as, but not limited to general house help; yaya; cook; gardener; laundry person; and any person who regularly performs domestic work in one household on an occupational basis.
Among those who are not covered by the wage increase for domestic workers include service providers, family drivers, children under foster family arrangement, and any other person who performs work occasionally or sporadically and not on an occupational basis.
The wages of the domestic workers shall be paid in cash at least once a month. No deductions shall be made other than those mandated by law.
Pursuant to Section 30 of Batas Kasambahay, a domestic worker who has rendered at least one month of service shall be covered by the Social Security System (SSS), the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, and the Home Development Mutual Fund or Pag-IBIG, and shall be entitled to all the benefits in accordance to the pertinent provisions of the law.
Further, premium payments or contributions shall be shouldered by the employer. However, if the domestic worker is receiving a wage of P5,000 and above per month, the domestic worker shall pay the proportionate share in the contributions as provided by law.
In the case of hiring/contracting of domestic worker services through licensed private employment agencies, the wage rate in the said order shall be borne by the principals or clients of the agencies and the contract shall be deemed amended accordingly.
In the event that the principals or clients fail to pay the prescribed wage rate, the agencies concerned shall be jointly and severally liable with his principal or client.
The wage order for domestic workers does not allow any exemption from its effectivity.
The order stipulated that any party aggrieved by the said wage order may file a verified appeal with the National Wages and Productivity Commission through the RTWPB-CAR not later than 10 days from the publication of the same, subject to the pertinent rules and regulations.
Moreover, household employers and their domestic workers may voluntarily and mutually agree to adopt a competency/productivity-based pay scheme in setting and adjusting the pay of domestic workers and shall not be computed as part of the applicable minimum wage.
Withholding and interference in the disposal of wages of the domestic workers are declared unlawful and shall be punishable with a fine of not less than P10,000 but not more than P40,000, without prejudice to the filing of the appropriate civil and/or criminal action by the aggrieved party.