RTWPB allows exemptions to new wage order

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BAGUIO CITY  – The Cordillera office of the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) here ruled that applications for exemption from compliance to the newly issued wage order shall not be allowed except in cases of establishments adversely affected by calamities such as natural and human induced disasters pursuant to existing rules and regulations.

Augusto Aquillo, RTWPB board secretary, said the transfer of personnel from one province or region to another shall not be a valid reason for the reduction of the prevailing wage rate being enjoyed by the worker prior to the said transfer.

Any party aggrieved by the new wage order may file a verified appeal with the Commission through the Board within ten calendar days from the publication of the order.

However, Aquillo explained the filing of the appeal does not operate to stay the new wage order unless the party appealing such order shall file with the Commission an undertaking with a surety or sureties satisfactory to the Commission or payment of the corresponding increases for covered employees in the event the new wage order is affirmed.

He added nothing in the new wage order is construed to reduce any existing wage rates, allowances and benefits of any form under existing laws, decrees, executive orders and/or under any contract or agreement between the workers and employers.

The RTWPB-CAR official underscored complaints for non-compliance with the new wage order may be filed with the regional office of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in the Cordillera and shall be the subject of enforcement proceedings under existing labor laws, rules and regulations without prejudice to criminal prosecution which may be undertaken against those who failed to comply with the new wage order.

According to him, any person, corporation, trust or firm, partnership, association or entity that refuses or fails to pay the prescribed increases in wages pursuant to the new wage order shall be subject to the penal provisions of Republic Act (RA) 76727 as amended by RA 8188.

At the same time, he cited no preliminary or permanent injunction or temporary restraining order may be issued by any court, tribunal or other entity against any proceedings before the Board.

But he explained the new wage order cannot be construed to prevent workers from bargaining for higher wages with their respective employers.

The new wage order also requires that any person, company, corporation, partnership or any entity engaged in business shall submit a verified itemized listing of their labor components to the Board not later than January 31, 2016 and every year thereafter in accordance with the form prescribed by the Commission.

The RTWPB is now preparing the necessary rules to implement the new wage order subject to the approval of the Secretary of Labor and Employment and if for any reason, a section or provision of this order is declared unconstitutional or illegal, the other provisions or part shall remain valid.

The initial wave of implementation of the new wage order will take place on Monday, June 29, 2015 while the second wave will be on January 1, 2016.

By Dexter A. See

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