The government is set to roll out a P50.8-billion wage subsidy program for workers in small businesses hit by the COVID-19 lockdown by next month.
President Duterte has approved the proposed small business wage subsidy program to provide relief for the concerned middle class workers, according to Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles yesterday.
Under the two-month program, Nograles said the government will give a subsidy of P5,000 to P8,000 per worker depending on the minimum wage of a region.
“This was presented to the President and he gave his go-signal. The program is called the small business wage subsidy program. This is our response to our middle income workers,” Nograles said.
“This will cover 1.6 million small businesses that have ceased to operate due to the enhanced community quarantine or who are applying the skeletal workforce to stay afloat. The number of potential workers who can benefit is 3.4 million workers,” he added.
Nograles said the subsidies for the eligible workers will be given in two tranches next month. The first tranche of the subsidy will be given May 1 to 15, while the second tranche will be paid in the second half of the month.
The government intends to use the database of small businesses registered with the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Social Security System to identify the target beneficiaries. “This is our priority,” Nograles said, referring to eligible businesses.
Excluded from the wage subsidy program are workers on-leave and those availing themselves of SSS unemployment benefits.
Workers who benefited from the one-time P5,000 subsidy from the Department of Labor and Employment will not be entitled to the first month of the new wage subsidy. “But for the second month or second tranche, they are covered,” Nograles said.
He said the wage subsidy will be distributed either through the workers’ SSS cards, bank accounts, PayMaya online account, or remittance transfer companies.
Duterte bared last Monday night the proposed P50.8-billion wage subsidy program for workers in small businesses affected by the quarantine regulations due to the pandemic.
The subsidy program aims to help the formal sector and middle class workers who are not covered by the emergency subsidy program for low-income families. (Genalyn Kabiling)