An additional P22 cost-of-living allowance (COLA), effective 26 May 2011, is granted to workers in the National Capital Region (NCR). The P22 COLA is contained in Wage Order No. NCR-16 (full text) issued on 9 May 2011 by the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board-National Capital Region (RTWPB-NCR) and published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer on 11 May 2011.
[See also Wage Order NCR-18, providing for a P10-wage increase effective January 2014]
Some employers may have voluntarily given a salary increase, a fact recognized by the Wage Order. Any increase granted previous to the effectivity of the Wage Order (5 months for companies without labor unions; 3 months for organized firms or companies with labor unions) is considered as compliance with the required increase. No additional increase is required.
The P22 per day COLA increase applies to all minimum wage earners in the private sector, regardless of position, designation or status of employment and irrespective of the method by which they are paid (see exemptions). The updated minimum wage rate for workers in the non-agricultural sector is P426, while the new wage rage for the agricultural sector is P389. In the case of contracts for construction projects and for security, janitorial and similar services, the COLA increase shall be payable by the principals or clients of the construction/service contractors.
This is good, insufficient, even, from the perspective of the workers. An across-the-board wage increase was given less than a year ago. For employers, the additional COLA, which was granted in the wake of the extraordinary rise in gas prices, the questions is this: should the COLA be withdrawn once the price of oil goes down? However, diminution of benefits is no longer allowed under the law. Could we consider this action on the part of the Wage Boards, or the government in general, anathema to the competitiveness of Philippine businesses?