I am a security guard employed by a big security agency. I just want to know if there is a law that punishes employers who fail to provide minimum wages to their employees. I have been with my agency for 3 years but I am only receiving a salary below the minimum wage.
The fixing of minimum wage is mandated by Republic Act (R.A.) No. 6727 or the Wage Rationalization Act. Under this law, each covered employers is mandated to provide its employees their salaries not lower than the amount fixed by the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards of each region.
An employee, who is receiving a salary below the minimum wage where his /her employer is not exempt from the coverage of the abovementioned law, may file a complaint for underpayment of salary before the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) to compel his/her employer to pay the difference between the amount he/she is receiving and the fixed minimum wage.
The said employee may likewise file a complaint before the Regional Office of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) having jurisdiction over his/her workplace, so that the latter may conduct enforcement proceedings by virtue of the provisions of the Labor Code of the Philippines (Section 17, Chapter I, Rules Implementing Republic Act No. 6727).
In the same vein, RA No. 6727 provides penal sanction against those employers who will fail to comply with its provision. Section 12 thereof as amended by Republic Act No. 8188 provides:
“Section 12. Any person, corporation, trust, firm, partnership, association or entity which refuses or fails to pay any of the prescribed increases or adjustments in the wage rates made in accordance with this Act shall be punished by a fine not less than Twenty-five thousand pesos (P25.000) nor more than One hundred thousand pesos (P100.000) or imprisonment of not less than two (2) years nor more than four (4) years or both such fine and imprisonment at the discretion of the court: Provided. That any person convicted under this Act shall not be entitled to the benefits provided for under the Probation Law.
The employer concerned shall be ordered to pay an amount equivalent to double the unpaid benefits owing to the employees: Provided, That payment of indemnity shall not absolve the employer from the criminal liability imposable under this Act.
If the violation is committed by a corporation, trust or firm, partnership, association or any other entity, the penalty of imprisonment shall be imposed upon the entity’s responsible officers including but not limited to the president, vice president, chief executive officer, general manager, managing director or partner.”
Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.
We hope that we were able to guide you with our opinion on the matter.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org