Labour Minister Claudio Moroni on Friday confirmed a lump sum 4,000-peso increase for private-sector workers with 3,000 pesos falling due with this month’s wage and the rest in February.
It is not considered a bonus since it is to be incorporated into the basic salary. Next week will be the turn of public-sector workers.
According to Moroni’s calculations, this extra payment will permit the lowest-paid fifth of the workforce or some 1.3 million workers to regain the purchasing-power lost last year.
"The 4,000 [pesos] are a salary increase, it is not a bonus, it is not an extraordinary payment," Moroni said.
The official explained that it is a "fixed and uniform increase for all scales" and that it will be "3,000 [pesos] for January, to which 1,000 more pesos are added in February, with which are incorporated 4,000" pesos.
With the minimum wage currently at 16,875 pesos per month (US$270 at the official exchange rate), unions are expected to call for significant increases after a year of galloping inflation that is estimated to close at about 55 percent in 2019.
The government expects the salary increase to have "a dynamic effect on demand," though it said it would exempt small and medium-sized businesses from paying taxes applicable to the increase for three months.
On Thursday, President Alberto Fernández asked workers not to make "excessive requests" for wage increases "because that affects the outcome for the economy."