DOLE to private employers: Pay 13th month bonus early

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) mandates the private sector employers to pay their workers the 13th month bonus earlier to avoid the holiday or Christmas rush.

DOLE to private employers: Pay 13th month bonus early

Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz in a labor advisory issued recently explained that private sector employers are duty-bound under the law to report their compliance with the said 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 added.

The 13th month pay is defined to mean one-twelfth (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 24 December 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 24 December. If not paid after this date, the 13th month pay becomes due and demandable.

To enable workers and employers to appreciate better the formula and computation of the 13th month pay, Baldoz issued a sample illustration, as follows:

13th month pay = Total basic salary earned during the year divided by 12 months

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.

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.

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