Private sector employers have until Dec. 24 to give 13th month pay of employees

MANILA, Dec. 1 (PNA) — Private sector employers have until December 24 to pay the 13th month benefits of their employees in compliance with the provisions of the Labor Code, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said.

Labor and Employment Rosalinda Baldoz said those who are entitled of the bonus pay are rank-and-file employees in the private sector regardless of their position, designation, or employment status, and irrespective of the method by which their wages are paid.

“The 13th month pay is required of private sector employers according to the provisions of Presidential Decree No. 851 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations,” she said in a statement.

The 13th month pay is defined to mean one-twelfth (1/12) of the basic salary of an employee within a calendar year.

Baldoz explained that the basic salary includes all remunerations or earnings paid by an employer to an employee for services rendered, but may not include cost-of-living allowances (COLA), profit-sharing payments, cash equivalents of unused vacation and sick leave credits, overtime pay, premium pay, night shift differential pay, holiday pay, and all allowances and monetary benefits which are not considered, or integrated as part of the regular or basic salary of the employee.

“The 13th month pay must be paid on or before 24 December of every year. This year, the 24th of December falls on a Thursday, so employers may pay their workers the 13th month benefit on this day, but I urge them to pay earlier to avoid the rush,” she added.

The DOLE chief noted that employers may pay their employees one-half of their 13th month benefit before the opening of the regular school year–May or June–and the remaining one-half on or before 24 December. If not paid after this date, the 13th month pay becomes due and demandable.

Workers are covered by the financial benefit if they have worked for at least one month during the calendar year.

Under the Labor Code, every covered employer is required to make a report of compliance with the law to the nearest DOLE regional office not later than 15 January of each year.

On the other hand, Baldoz warned that failure to pay the 13th month benefit, employers are liable to money claim cases that aggrieved employees can file with any DOLE regional office.

“Once the DOLE receives a request for assistance (RFA) to resolve a non-payment of 13th month benefit, the RFA will be acted upon using the single entry approach (SEnA) mechanism of conciliation-mediation which is a very accessible, fair, non-litigious, and inexpensive dispute settlement system,” she said. (PNA)