Employers in Palawan who have not complied with the government’s minimum pay rate for workers were cautioned to do so now, in order to keep up with the possibility of an increase attributed to the rising oil prices, warned the labor department’s local office.

Luis Evangelista, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Palawan Field Office provincial director, issued the warning to employers after the announcement of DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello that the government is looking into the possibility of an increase in the current minimum wage due to the rising prices of petroleum products in the country.

Employers who fail to pay the minimum wage will be forced to pay “twice the amount of the unpaid salary or benefits,” he warned.

“Kung ito ay underpayment o non-payment ay tinatawag ‘yan na double indemnity. Kung ang kulang sa’yo na na-compute ay P10 per day at nag-issue ng compliance order ang DOLE ay magiging P20 pesos ang P10 pagdating sa salary,” Evangelista explained.

The current minimum wage in Palawan is P320 per day, which some employers are failing to pay.

As oil prices continue to rise due to the ongoing crisis between Russia and Ukraine, Bello has ordered a review of the minimum wage across the country.

All Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards (RTWPBs) have been directed to submit their recommendations by April.

He, however, said they are not suggesting how much increase should be implemented.

“Ang mga employer na hindi pa sumusunod sa minimum wage ay sumunod na, dahil dito sa napipintong pagtaas ay dapat makaagapay din sila,” Evangelista said.

“We are not in the position to suggest how much should be increased,” he added.

Evangelista claims that some underpaid employees are informally reporting, and that they were only discovered as a consequence of a random inspection undertaken by their office, but that they do not have any data.

He also said that they do not conduct surveys to determine how many employers do not pay the minimum wage.

“Walang direktang [nagre-report] sa amin pero may nakikita ang mga inspector and at the same time nag-a-adjust naman kung kailan nahuli na,” he said.

With the current pandemic and continuing increase in prices of petroleum products, Evangelista asked employers to provide all other possible assistance to their employees to cope with the crisis.

“Sana ay tingnan pa nila kung ano ang puwede na ibigay pa nila sa kanilang empleyado na kakayanin nila para matulungan sa panahon ng krisis,” Evangelista said.

Meanwhile, Evangelista has said that on March 31, they will hold a Labor Education session for employers to discuss current DOLE requirements.

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is the chief of correspondents of Palawan News. She covers defense, politics, tourism, health, and sports stories. She loves to travel and explore different foods.