‘High time’ to hike minimum wage in private sector – Legarda

By Leonel Abasola

February 19, 2024, 6:29 pm

<p>Senator Loren Legarda <em>(File photo)</em></p>

Senator Loren Legarda (File photo)

MANILA – Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda on Monday said workers in the private sector deserve the proposed PHP100 minimum wage increase as the last legislated national wage hike was 35 years ago.

Legarda said the last legislated national wage hike in the country was in 1989 through Republic Act 6727, or the Wage Rationalization Act, which raised the national minimum wage from PHP64 to PHP89.

"It is high time we increase the minimum wage across the board in the private sector to alleviate the financial strain on families," Legarda said in a news release.

Senate Bill 2534, which the four-term senator co-authored and co-sponsored, has passed the second reading and is expected to hurdle the third and final reading as it did not meet any opposition.

Under the proposed bill, the minimum wage of all workers in the private sector, whether agricultural or non-agricultural, shall be increased by PHP100 a day upon the effectivity of the law.

Once passed, any employer found violating the law, will be fined between PHP25,000 to PHP100,000, or imprisonment between two and four years, as well as awarding back pay.

"By ensuring that families earn a fair wage, we can address concerns about basic necessities. This will enable families to enjoy more fulfilling and stable lives. This is a matter of economic justice and basic human dignity,” she added.

Per the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), a Filipino family of five would need at least PHP13,797 a month or PHP460 a day to make ends meet.

Legarda said workers cannot be ignored and must be protected at all costs as they carry the country’s economy.

"By increasing the minimum wage, there is a chance to lift individuals out of poverty. There is a chance for them to be more productive, to pay more taxes, to spend more in our economy, and to be able to live a life that they deserve," Legarda said. (PNA)