Member companies of the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) were briefed by labor officials on policy issuances by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) during the ECOP Membership Forum Series held recently.
National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC) Executive Director Ciriaco Lagunzad III discussed the two-tiered wage system.
The two-tiered wage system, Lagunzad pointed out, consists of a mandatory “floor wage” for the new entrants and the unskilled workers who cannot bargain for wages higher than the floor as well as an enterprise productivity-based approach for determining wages above the mandatory floor. The envisioned productivity-based pay shall be implemented through negotiations or collective bargaining between employers and the workers.
Such new system of wage determination seeks to afford protection to the most vulnerable workers in the labor market, promote productivity improvement and reduce, if not eliminate the unintended outcomes of the current minimum wage policy such as risks to inflation, unemployment and underemployment; informality; distortions in the pay systems and; weak incentives to adopt pay-for-performance schemes, according to Lagunzad.
Rene Almeda of Yazaki-Torres Manufacturing, Inc. (YTMI), who is also employers’ representative to the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB)-Region IV-A, noted that RTWPB-IV-A, in previously issuing wage orders, has consistently taken into account the need to protect the unskilled and vulnerable, thus its adherence to the safety net concept.
The forum also had Bureau of Working Conditions (BWC) Director Brenda Villafuerte as resource person who talked about flexible wage arrangements as well as mentioned the DOLE’s position on the proposed four-day, 10-hour workweek and the KAPATIRAN WISE-TAV.
Villafuerte cited various schemes pertaining to flexible work arrangements which have been adopted in times of crisis and by companies in distress.
Almeda related that Yazaki-Torres had, in the past, resorted to rotation and reduced work hours of employees to enable the company to cope with the economic downturn and avert shutdowns and lay-offs. Almeda noted that prior to the adoption of said flexible work schemes, Yazaki-Torres reported the matter to DOLE and sought the BWC’s approval. He added that Yazaki-Torres also conducted consultations with its employees and got their consent.
On the KAPATIRAN WISE-TAV, Villafuerte noted that this program was conceptualized along the Big Brother-Small Brother scheme wherein large companies (Big Brothers), that are fully compliant with labor standards and are willing to share their resources and expertise, assist micro and small enterprises (Small Brothers) in improving their work conditions particularly in the field of Occupational Safety and Health (OSH). This will eventually enable the latter to comply with labor standards. The program also seeks to empower the Small Brothers and later on cascade their experiences on workplace improvements to other micro and small enterprises.