Data group says firms can afford wage hikes
Employers should stop using small businesses as an excuse to fight an increase in minimum wage to as much as P750 per day, according to a research group that said such an increase was “doable” and would translate to only 28 percent of company profits being shared with workers.
Rosario Guzman, executive editor and research head of Ibon Data Bank, said big companies could definitely absorb the impact of a substantial wage increase since government data showed that 34,740 businesses in the Philippines with more than 20 workers earned at least P1.7 trillion in total profits.
If the nationwide average daily basic pay of P378 was increased to P750, Guzman said this meant employers would allot only P473.2 billion, or 28.3 percent, of the P1.7 trillion profit.
“Firms and the economy as a whole have more than enough profits to support this,” Guzman said on Monday.
After two bills seeking an increase in the national minimum wage were filed at the House of Representatives last week, the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (Ecop) warned that legislating pay hikes would be “detrimental” to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) which make up at least 99 percent of the total number of businesses in the country.
Bad for business
Guzman said Ecop should stop using MSMEs as an excuse to oppose wage increases since small businesses can get government help through credit support and tax incentives.
“The big companies are always using small businesses as an excuse when, in fact, they are the ones enjoying tax incentives and MSMEs do not enjoy anything at all from the government,” Guzman said.
“They are the ones killing these businesses because they are getting the incentives that should be given to small enterprises,” she said.
Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao said raising the minimum wage to P750 was a just move and the Ecop threat was tantamount to blackmail.
Casilao said increasing workers’ wage was “urgent” and would enable workers to cope with “unabated increase” in prices of basic goods and services.
Fuel products, Casilao said in a statement, increased 17 times since January while power rates and prices of liquefied petroleum gas increased by up to P4 per kilogram, he said.
Add to that the possibility of transport fare increasing as well as groups of drivers and operators were petitioning for a fare increase, Casilao said.
He said the national minimum wage being pushed by the Makabayan bloc at the House was “meaningful.”
“It will provide relief amid the mounting cost of living,” he said.