Philippines studies US$499mil wage subsidy plan for companies


This handout photo taken on May 1, 2021 and receive from the Presidential Communications Operations Office - Office of the Global Media and Public Affairs (PCOO-OGMPA) shows workers unloading first batch of the Russian-made Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine from a plane shortly after arriving at the international airport in Manila. - AFP

MANILA, May 1 (Bloomberg): The Philippines is considering a 24 billion-peso (US$499 million) wage subsidy plan that could help pandemic-hit companies retain as many as one million workers.

Small businesses that have reduced work hours or temporarily closed will be prioritised, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said in a virtual employment summit on Saturday. The plan, which is under review by economic managers, will provide a monthly subsidy of 8,000 pesos for each worker for three months.

"The proposed wage subsidy programme is a safety net programme which aims to save jobs, promote employee retention, and augment income loss of affected workers,” Lopez said.



The Philippines is struggling with widespread unemployment and income losses. Tighter movement curbs in the capital region and surrounding provinces -- the country’s economic backbone -- in late March to April are expected to fan the jobless rate, which rose to 8.8% in February. More recent jobs data is scheduled for release Thursday.

The Philippines’ recovery will lag that of regional peers, according to the Asian Development Bank. It’s also expected to chart Asia’s highest jobless rate this year, according to a Bloomberg survey.

Lopez also pushed for lawmakers to ease some of the country’s foreign investment restrictions, which the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development said is among Asia’s strictest. - Bloomberg
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