COMPANIES OPERATING within the Central Visayas have been given until Nov. 1 to file for an exemption from the new minimum wage rates that took effect Aug. 3.
“There will be some criteria that the Board will use in order to determine whether or not the applicant-establishment is qualified for exemption. Every applicant will have to go through tedious evaluation and scrutiny by the Board before it will be granted exemption,” Johnson G. Cañete, Department of Labor and Employment-Region 7 (DoLE-) director, said in a statement on Sept. 4.
Among those eligible for exemption are those „adversely affected by calamities, natural or man-made“ and should be located in areas where authorities declare that local area under a state of calamity. The calamity should have happened within six months from the effectivity of the minimum wage order.
These “distressed establishments” could be granted a full, partial or conditional exemption.
Full exemption of one year will only be granted to companies that are under Section 3 of the Amended Rules on Exemption or the National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC) Guidelines No. 2, Series of 2007.
Section 3 of the rules states that full exemption will be granted to corporations/cooperatives, in the red “when the deficit, as defined in Section I (N), as of the last full accounting period immediately preceding the effectivity of the Order amounts to 20% or more of the paid-up capital for the same period.”
Those with a “capital deficiency i.e., negative stockholders’ equity, as of the last full accounting period immediately preceding the effectivity of the Order” can also get full exemption.
For single proprietorship/partnerships as well as non-stock/non-profit organizations, full exemption may be given “when the accumulated net losses for the last two (2) full accounting periods immediately preceding the effectivity of the Order amounts to 20% or more of the total invested capital at the beginning of the period under review” or “when an establishment registers capital deficiency i.e., negative net worth as of the last full accounting period immediately preceding the effectivity of the Order.”
the organization registers capital deficiency after the wage order’s effectivity.
DoLE-7 also said, “Partial exemption of 50% with respect to the amount or period of exemption could also be granted, while conditional exemption of 1 year could likewise be granted when certain financial conditions are met as indicated in the IRR (Implementing Rules and Regulations).”
Aside from granting exemptions, DoLE-7 said it will also assist applicant- establishments through productivity programs that will help improve businesses.
These programs will be in cooperation with the Regional Tripartite Wage and Productivity Board (RTWPB).
Meanwhile, the Labor department also cautioned establishments that don’t follow the minimum wage order, stressing that non-compliant businesses will have to pay their workers’ back wages plus 1% interest per month since the wage order’s effectivity in August.
Under the latest minimum wage order, the rates are: non-agriculture workers, P386 for Class A areas; P348, Class B; P338, Class C; and P323, Class D.
Class A covers the cities of Carcar, Cebu, Danao, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, Naga, and Talisay, and the municipalities of Compostela, Consolacion, Cordova, Liloan, Minglanilla, and San Fernando.
Class B includes the cities of Toledo and Bogo and all municipalities of Cebu Province except Bantayan and the Camotes Islands.
Class C consists of the provinces of Bohol and Negros Oriental, while Class D covers Siquijor, Bantayan and the Camotes Islands.
As of August 2018, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported that the inflation rate in Central Visayas was 6.3%, nearly double the 3.2% during the same period last year. — Gillian M. Cortez