• Yolanda-hit firms exempt from wage increases


    Business establishments struck by natural or man-made calamities in 2013, such as Super Typhoon Yolanda, have been exempted from compliance with the prescribed wage increases and cost-of-living allowances (COLA) granted by the Regional Tripartite Wage and Productivity Board (RTWPB).

    Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Sec. Rosalinda Baldoz said this was the government’s way of extending assistance to the affected businessmen.

    Baldoz added that the exemption lasts for one year.

    On Friday, the National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC) approved a resolution amending the guidelines on exemptions from RTWPBs-issued wage orders.

    According to Baldoz, the NWPC amendments to the 2077 Rules on Exemption have liberalized the process and requirements for exempting calamity-affected enterprises.

    The NWPC board expanded its concept of natural calamities to include typhoons, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, droughts and pest infestations. It defines human-induced or man-made calamities as economic sabotage, financial crisis, rebellion and war.

    However, the DOLE clarified that businessmen can only avail of the said exemption if the calamity has occurred within six months before the effectivity of a wage order.

    “If the damage to properties of the establishment is at least 50 percent, based on the assessment of a competent authority, and the period of recovery will exceed one year, the six-month period of exemption may be extended to one year,” Baldoz explained.

    The NWPC board also allows RTWPBs to re-open the period for the filing of exemption applications if the calamity occurred after the deadline for filing them.

    Applicant-establishments, however, need to submit a certification that a general assembly has been conducted to explain to their workers their intent to apply for exemption prior to the filing of the application, and an undertaking to conduct another general assembly to inform the workers of the decision of the RTWPB on its application.

    To simplify the documentary requirements, the resolution provides that a certification by the barangay and photographs of the damaged property or properties may be submitted in lieu of audited financial statements.


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