MANILA — This early, Labor and Employment Secretary Baldoz has urged all the country’s private sector employers to pay their workers’ 13th month pay on or before December 24 or even earlier.
Baldoz said the 13th month pay is pursuant to the Labor Code of the Philippines and its implementing rules and regulations, saying that the 13th month pay is a general labor standard that the DOLE does not compromise as to its payment.
The DOLE chief Wednesday signed and issued a labor advisory to this effect, explaining that private sector employers are duty-bound under the law to report their compliance with this worker benefit.
“All employers are required to pay their rank-and-file employees the 13th month pay, regardless of the nature of their employment, and irrespective of the methods by which their wages are paid, provided they worked for at least one month during a calendar year,” Baldoz said.
“Good labor-management relations, increased workers’ and enterprises’ productivity and competiveness result from workers being paid what is due them,” she said.
Reminding employers to pay their workers their 13th month benefit has been one of Baldoz’s staunchest advocacies since she assumed the position as Secretary of Labor and Employment in 2010.
The 13th month pay is defined to mean 1/12 of the basic salary of an employee within a calendar year.
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 December 24 of every year. This year, the 24th of December falls on a Wednesday, so employers may pay their workers the 13th month benefit on this day, but I urge them to pay earlier to avoid the rush,” explained Baldoz.
She added, however, 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 December 24. If not paid after this date, the 13th month pay becomes due and demandable.
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 January 15 of each year.
Baldoz said employers failing to pay the 13th month benefit 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,” said Baldoz.