Thirty-one million of the total 67.1 million Filipino workers have not been receiving the correct minimum wage since 2013, according to an independent research group.
Ibon Foundation said 31 million is equivalent to 46.1 percent of the total 67.1 million Filipino workers, citing data from government-run Philippine Statistics Authority and the Department of Labor and Employment.
Ibon added that workers who receive lower than the minimum wage include those in Metro Manila (National Capital Region or NCR).
As of June, the minimum wage in Metro Manila is P491 per month after the Regional Wage and Productivity Board (RWPB) increased it from P481.00.
The research group said the P491 daily rate, the highest in the whole country, is not enough for basic needs of a family with at least five members.
This five-member family needs more than P1,000 daily to have a “decent” life, Ibon added.
The gap between the highest mandated minimum wage in the country and the family living wage or what a family of five needs for decent living is widening, it said.
Ibon noted that only 16.5 million workers, or 24.6 percent of the total workforce, have been receiving the minimum wage since 2013.
While the minimum-wage earners are receiving a monthly income that is legally pegged by the RWPB, the actual value of the P491 daily rate in the market is around P340, according to Alan Tanjusay, advocacy officer of the Association of Labor Unions.
This means, Tanjusay previously told The Manila Times, that the purchasing power of the monthly salary of the regular salaried workers is tremendously low.
Ibon also noted that the average daily basic pay nationwide was only P378 in 2015.
“Wages were further pressed down when the Aquino administration implemented a nationwide two-tier wage system. This comprised a government-determined mandatory ‘floor wage,’ which is lower than the mandatory minimum wage, and a productivity-based incentive, which is optional for employers to implement,” it said.
President Rodrigo Duterte, Ibon added, should push the idea of increasing the mandated minimum wage to improve the situation of millions of workers.
“It is an achievable demand that can help revitalize the domestic economy,” Ibon said.