Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez has filed a bill to ensure minimum wage earners get the pay as well as all the benefits that they deserve.
Alvarez said he filed the bill to curb the illegal practice of private sector employers of non-compliance with the proper and appropriate payment of minimum wage to their workers.
“Failure to pay the required minimum wage entails serious penalties. However, the current penalties are not strong enough to completely stop these unjust and unreasonable conditions suffered by labor workers,” Alvarez said.
Among others, the bill requires the payment of wages and wage related benefits of an employee through the automated teller machines of banks.
Likewise, the bill amends Presidential Decree No. 442 and provides for a new article requiring employees to shoulder all premium payments or contributions of minimum wage earners in Social Security System (SSS), the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth), the Home Development Mutual Fund (PAGIBIG) and other social security and welfare benefit programs.
To ensure compliance, the bill penalizes non-payment of wages of workers in the private sectors by a fine of P200,000 to P500,000 and/or imprisonment of not less than four years but not more than six years, or both.
An employer found guilty of violating the law shall be ordered to pay double the amount of unpaid wages it owed the employee concerned. But payment of indemnity will not absolve the employer from criminal liability.
In cases where the worker was hired through a subcontractor, non-payment of wage as well as wage-related benefits would make the principal and the subcontractor liable for violation of the law.
The bill requires the Secretary of Labor and Employment to promulgate the necessary implementing rules and regulations within 120 days from the effectivity of the law.
“All employees, particularly the minimum wage earners should receive the right wages and benefits they so rightfully deserve. This bill seeks to increase the penalties so as to impose stricter guidelines for the employers. In doing so, this could serve as a deterrent to the non-compliance of payment of prescribed minimum wage rates by unjust employers,” Alvarez said.