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Monday, October 11, 2010

How common is common sense?

I was just signing personnel action forms before leaving the office, a good 4 inches thick of them!  Anyway, for those who aren’t so familiar, these forms document the changes in personnel status: promotions, departmental transfers, regularizations and the like.  There were quite a few of them and most were for salary adjustments for minimum wage earners.  Being in the industry of service contracting and knowing the plight of Juan dela Cruz, I know such adjustments should have been enough to put a modest smile on his face.  But no, JDC is not smiling at all.  His shoulders are slung low and he is shaking his head.  He is sad, very sad…

Last year, a welcome development came for the majority of the country’s workforce.  A law was passed exempting minimum wage earners from paying income tax.  Long delayed as it was, it was welcome indeed!  Another one came middle of this year, a wage order was issued, setting the new minimum daily wage at P404, up by P22/day from P382, an increase of roughly P570/month.  Though not a reason to be ecstatic, this was enough for Juan dela Cruz to smile.  But sadly, not for long… 

JDC has been with the company a little longer than most.  He is also an above average worker.  He not only always comes on time, but is also never absent.  His performance is above par and when needed, he is always willing and able to work overtime, quite eager to earn the few extra hundreds for his little boy’s occasional Jollibee treat.  He’s also got great attitude to boot!  To top it all, the company acknowledged his performance (along with a few commendable others) with a salary increase, even just at least to make sure that he and his kind are above those earning minimum.  So why in the world is JDC so sad?

Well  you see, the model employee that he is, JDC just happened to get a 200-peso increase above the minimum wage.  For now, that’s really all that the company can afford, having had to make salary adjustments for most of its employees due to the wage order.   Since that put him above the minimum wage, his entire salary is now taxable and… you guessed it right!  His income tax deduction puts his actual take-home pay to below minimum.  What’s worse, when he does OT (and sometimes it can be quite considerable) the additional pay further pulls his salary to a higher bracket, further taxing his hard earned pesos.  Left with no recourse, he is now asking if his salary can just be brought back down to minimum… Now, is it so mind-boggling why our dear old Juan dela Cruz is sad? 

For me, what’s mind-boggling is the fact that the law makers seem not to have thought of this!  Isn’t it common sense to test the law, especially for something like this that deals with the minimum wage?  All they needed to do was to put sample numbers in a worksheet and see the effect of this new law on certain salary brackets.  If they did test the law, and made no provisions for those within the close margin above minimum wage, it just truly shows how calloused our government has become.  If they didn’t, it simply demonstrates that really, common sense is not common to all, not even to our law makers. 

Tsk, tsk, tsk...

Now that really makes me sad...


  1. wow boss, can you send this to the newspapers ? this is really a concern and affects the masses ! thank you for this. i know how kind you are to the JDCs of this world and they would be very lucky to work for your company. maybe we can make enough noise so the government can hear this ? can i repost this ?

  2. Sure Mynes, that's precisely why I blogged about this. Nobody in the media seems to be picking up the issue...

    ... and thanks for reading! =)

  3. I totally agree with Myna, it's a concern that should be heard, hope that there will something done about it (hope,hope,hope)

    ...I'll repost this via facebook.

    thanks for a great blog.



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