Proposed wage hike continues to cause division in the Philippines

In addition to a proposed minimum wage hike, the Philippines' Senate is also considering a bill to protect freelancers.
By: | May 16, 2023

The Department of Labour and Employment (DOLE) in the Philippines has called for a balanced solution regarding the proposed P150 (US$2.68) minimum wage hike for private sector employees.

The bill, proposed by Juan Miguel Zubiri, President of the Senate of the Philippines, seeks to increase the daily wage rate of private employees by P150 (US$2.68). However, the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) has argued that some industries could not afford the proposed wage hike due to pandemic-related losses, with many organisations still facing losses. The DOLE has confirmed that it is actively reviewing the wage hike petitions, which are currently under evaluation by the Regional Tripartite Wage and Productivity Boards.

At the same time, Luis Raymund Villafuerte, District Representative of Camarines Sur, is calling the Senate to prioritise the passage of a measure that provides protection and relief to over 1.5 million Filipino freelance employees. Villafuerte was one of the authors of House Bill 6718 or The Freelance Workers’ Protection Act, which requires hiring parties or employers to first enter into written contracts with their freelance employees before the latter can start working for them. These contracts will detail the scope of work to be provided by the freelance employees, actual compensation, and other financial benefits plus other labour-related conditions set by DOLE.

READ: Minimum wage exemption offered to selected MSMEs in the Philippines

Villafuerte is calling for the bill to be passed during the remaining four session weeks of the First Regular Session of the 19th Congress, which will adjourn sine die on 2 June 2023. He argued that the gig economy is growing rapidly, leading to increasing demand for freelancers, and the bill would protect a growing number of Filipino freelancers who are at risk of unfair labour practices in the absence of work contracts with their employers, reported Manila Standard.