I said it before and I will say it again. Not everything that's legal is moral.
The last wage order and the other wage orders I've seen carry these exemptions:
"EXEMPTIONS. Upon application with and as determined by the Board, based on documentation and other requirements in accordance with applicable rules and regulations issued by the Commission, the following may be exempted from the applicability of this Order:
1. Distressed Establishments;
2. Establishments Facing Potential Losses;
3. Retail/Service Establishments Employing Not More Than Ten (10)Workers;
4. Establishments whose total assets, including those arising from loans, but exclusive of the land on which the particular business entity’s office, plant and equipment are situated, are not more than Three Million Pesos (P= 3,000,000.00); and,
5. Establishments adversely affected by natural calamities".
In this post, I'm highlighting # 3 which states that Retail and Service establishments employing not more than 10 workers are exempt from paying the minimum wage. This exemption makes it perfectly legal for anyone in the retail business no matter how hugely profitable can be exempt from following the law.
I heard many gas station owners pay their employees between P150 to 250 which is way below the minimum wage of P382. I also heard that a successful new chain of Filipino themed restaurants are not paying their employees the minimum required because they employ less people in their branches which happened to be franchised, no matter how profitable these branches are. The owners get away with paying less because they invoke this exemption.
I kind of understand why an exemption like this particular one is made. It allows employers who CANNOT AFFORD the payment of minimum wage still continue their operation until such time that they are able to afford it. Unfortunately, these are not stated in the wage order. It is the spirit of the exemption, I believe, but not the spirit of the employers who use this as an excuse... perpetually.
Imagine some of the owners of these companies enjoy all the spoils that life can offer while their employees are stuck deep in the quagmire of poverty. Imagine them enjoying a 500-buck lunch while their employees and their families have to survive with P200 for entire day. That is if they are not buried deep in debt. Imagine them changing cars every time they like a new model while, their workers squander for jeepney fare in order to get to work. Imagine these business owners cannot afford to pay the minimum wage because it will prevent them from living their lavish life styles! Imagine all the injustice of it!
I call on the law makers of the land and those in the Department of Labor and Employment to see the flaws of this law and fix it for the sake of those who are oppressed by it... by those who take advantage of it.
I also call on the employers who use this excuse even if they don't have to. Grow some conscience will you?!