The Philippines remains uncertain on wage hike despite inflation

Several labour agencies in the Philippines have been undertaking separate studies to determine if a wage increase should be granted.
By: | December 23, 2022

A wage hike for employees nationwide remains uncertain despite the continuing rise in inflation, according to the Department of Labour and Employment (DOLE) of the Philippines.

Bienvenido Laguesma, Secretary of Labour and Employment, said the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards (RTWPB) are still conducting separate studies regarding the decision to increase wages. One of them is the RTWPB in the National Capital Region (NCR), which heard the wage petition last week.

“The process is ongoing,” he said while stressing that the RTWPBs must be cautious in making a decision. “This cannot be done in haste because it would affect, most of all, the greater number of small businesses in our country.”

When asked whether a pay hike could be anticipated in the coming year, Laguesma refused to pre-empt the decision of RTWPBs. He explained that any appeal against RTWPBs’ decisions will be handled by the National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC), which he chairs.

READ: Jobs creation should be prioritised over wage hikes in the Philippines

At present, only the NCR wage board has received a formal petition for wage adjustment, said Criselda Sy, Executive Director of the NWPC. But to this end, she said the RTWPBs must consider other factors when reviewing existing wages, including the rule prohibiting wage adjustments within one year unless there is a supervening condition.

She revealed that employees in four regions have received the second instalment of the salary hike granted by their respective RTWPBs this December.

She also noted that the government is more focused on improving employee competitiveness, considering the strong labour market. Besides, employees can negotiate for salary adjustments at the organisational level without the RTWPB issuing a wage order, she added.