" Increase minimum wage "
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Due to the increasing demand and increasing price hike of basic commodities, the minimum wage of the irregular workers is not enough to sustain their daily needs.
From P466.00, the minimum wage increases for about P15.00 or shall we say P481.00 a day. Yet several labor unions and organization is still disappointed saying that the said increase is not enough to meet the basic necessity of every family since it is less than even half of the standard daily amount for living which is P1,088.00.
Poor households do not have much valuable physical assets to depend on. For their subsistence, they rely on the labor of their household members and their productivity in employment and other income-generating activities. Social assistance is often needed from the government, such as the Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program (4Ps) otherwise known as Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program discussed in Chapter 10 (Orbeta and Paqueo, 2016) of this volume. Other sources are cash or lending assistance from relatives, friends and other private entities. To get themselves out of poverty, they need to increase their work hours and productivity, a key factor for higher wages. The problem, however, is that the Philippine labor population is not fully employed. This means that a certain percentage of the "working-age" Filipinos either belong to the categories of open unemployment or underemployment. Open unemployment rate hovers at around 13.9 percent to 5.6 percent over 2002-20151. For workers who are underemployed they only work, on average, less than 40 hours a week2. Further, their wage rate is low due to productivity issues. Therefore, more Filipinos are unemployed rather than employed and with a poor minimum wage of salary they cant provide what they need and that cause a many poor Filipinos. If only the government will increase the minimum wage and lessen the tax for the poor and increases the tax for the rich our system will be in a good shape.
Raising the minimum wage would increase economic activity and spur job growth. THE Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has clarified the tax treatment of salaries paid by the government to its personnel who are engaged under a contract of service or job-order arrangement. Under the cited provision, persons exempt from VAT shall be required to pay a 3-percent withholding tax on gross money payments made by the government to them.
We also suggest to increase the VAT of government employees whose annual income is more or less 300, 000. The said VAT is for employees under contract to increase their income.
It is a balancing act: attract job creating investors by not scaring them away with high minimum wage and tough employment rules while making sure our workers are able to live on a salary they are paid. We should also consider our investors; we need fair treatment in accordance to our basic needs. In the end, it is a political decision.
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