Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Jose ‘Joey’ Concepcion III said micro-enterprises should be exempt from salary hike orders as they are still reeling from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and the conflict in Eastern Europe.
Concepcion said this after the wage boards of Metro Manila and Western Visayas approved an increase in the minimum wage for workers in various sectors in the regions.
In a statement, Concepcion expressed his belief that micro-enterprises should not be given this additional strain as they are already struggling from the effects of pandemic lockdowns and the high cost of commodities brought about by the Russia-Ukraine crisis.
“They have very little working capital, and whatever they earn for the day, they re-invest in the business just to keep going,” he said.
“Many of them are already in debt, and now their inputs are more expensive because commodity prices are up. It will be devastating for them,” he added.
The Go Negosyo founder cited a precedent in the exemption when the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board in Region V provided an exemption in 2004. It excluded from the coverage of an order raising minimum wage rates in Region V “workers registered in Barangay Micro Business Enterprises.” Additional exemptions were made for “retail/service establishments regularly employing not more than 10 workers, distressed establishments, new business enterprises, and establishments adversely affected by calamities.”
“We have to make this exemption for them because these are not ordinary times,” Concepcion said.
Metro Manila workers will get a P33 wage hike, raising the minimum wage rate in the National Capital Region (NCR) to P570 for the non-agriculture sector and P533 for the agriculture sector.
In the Western Visayas, non-agriculture, industrial, and commercial workers will receive a hike of P55 and P110. The daily minimum wage here will be P450 and P420 for those employing more than 10 workers and those employing 10 or fewer workers, respectively. In the agriculture sector, the increase will be P95, bringing the daily minimum wage to P410. The board has also approved a P500 wage increase for domestic workers.
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) had earlier justified the decision as being based on the need to restore the purchasing power of minimum wage earners amid the rising prices of basic goods, commodities, and petroleum products.