Barangay micro businesses exempt from minimum wage law
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The Manila Times
Dear PAO, I am a salesperson (tindera) in a small sari-sari store, and I am paid less than the legally mandated minimum wage. The store refused to pay the minimum wage because it was allegedly not obligated as a certified barangay micro-business. Am I entitled to be paid the minimum wage? Inday Dear Inday, Please be informed that Section 8 of Republic Act 9178, also known as the “Barangay Micro Business Enterprises (BMBEs) Act of 2002,” as amended by Republic Act 10644, provides the exemption of BMBEs from the coverage of the Minimum Wage Law. It states: “Section 8. Exemption for the Coverage of the Minimum Wage Law – The BMBEs shall be exempt from the coverage of the Minimum Wage Law: Provided, that all employees covered under this Act shall be entitled to the same benefits given to any regular employee such as social security and healthcare benefits.” (Emphasis added) To avail of the abovementioned exemption, Section 5 (b) of Republic Act 10644, also known as the “Go Negosyo Act,” provides the registration and issuance of a Certificate of Authority for BMBEs to avail of the benefits provided by the Republic Act 9178, to wit: “Section 5. Registration. – xxx “(b) Certificate of Authority for Barangay Micro Business Enterprise (BMBEs) – The DTI, through the Negosyo Center in the city or municipality level, shall have the sole power to issue the Certificate of Authority for BMBEs to avail of the benefits provided by Republic Act No. 9178, otherwise known as the ‘Barangay Micro Business Enterprises (BMBE’s) Act of 2002’. Upon the approval of registration of the BMBE, the Negosyo Center shall issue the Certificate of Authority, renewable every two (2) years. The DTI, through the Negosyo Center may charge a fee which shall not be more than One thousand pesos (P1,000.00) to be remitted to the National Government.” (Emphasis added) Furthermore, in the case of Dominga P. Cabug-os, doing business under the name, Kem’s Store v. Teresita Jorta Espona, docketed as GR 228719 (Aug. 8, 2022), and penned by Associate Justice Marvic Mario Victor F. Leonen, the Supreme Court affirmed BMBE’s exemption from the payment of minimum wage: “Here, petitioner registered for a Certificate of Authority as a barangay micro business enterprise only on June 24, 2013, or months after the filing of the illegal dismissal case, presumably to take advantage of the privileges of the law. “The National Labor Relations Commission, however, computed respondent’s backwages, salary differentials, 13th month pay, and separation pay from November 18, 2012 to December 19, 2014, based on the prevailing minimum wage. As a result, respondent was awarded a total of P678,804.69; an amount petitioner claims is six times the inventory value of her sarisari store. “Considering that petitioner’s store is a barangay micro business enterprise, as confirmed by her registration on June 24, 2013, and considering further the discussion on the informality of a sarisari store operation, petitioner is exempt from the payment of minimum wage. Thus, the judgment award should be recomputed as a matter of equity.” (Emphasis added.) You mentioned that the small sari-sari store where you are working as a salesperson is alleged to be a certified barangay micro-business. If the said store has been issued with a Certificate of Authority under the abovementioned laws, you are not entitled to be paid the minimum wage as it is exempt from paying it. We hope that we were able to answer your queries. This advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated on.