Private employers should pay their workers’ 13th month pay by 24 December, Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz said yesterday.
“All employers are required to pay their workers 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,” said Baldoz, adding that the 13th month pay is a labor standard requirement of the Labor Code.
She added that giving 13th month pay to workers would foster “good labor-management relations and increase workers’ and enterprises’ productivity and competitiveness.”
The 13th month pay constitutes one-twelfth (1/12th) of the basic pay received by an employee in a calendar year
Baldoz said that while the 13th month pay includes remunerations or earnings paid by an employer to the worker for services rendered, it does 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
– allowances and monetary benefits which are not considered or integrated as part of the regular or basic salary of the employee.
“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,” said Baldoz.
Employers may also opt to pay their workers one-half of their 13th month benefit before the opening of the regular school year in May or June; and the remaining half on or before December 24.
“If not paid after this date, the 13th month pay becomes due and demandable,” said Baldoz, adding that employers who fail to pay the 13th month benefit are liable to money claim cases that workers may 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.
The Labor and Employment Chief also added that all employers are required to make a report of compliance to the nearest DOLE regional office not later than 15 January of each year.
“Under the Labor Code, companies are required to submit a compliance report on the payment of 13th month pay to the nearest DOLE Regional Office on or not later than 15 January.”
Since she assumed office as Secretary of Labor and Employment, Baldoz also has been promptly urging private sector employers to pay their workers their 13th month pay, and since then, compliance to the standard has been on the rise.
In 2011, compliance rate on the payment of the 13th month pay was pegged at 88.23 percent. In 2012, the compliance rate was 94.76 percent; and in 2013, compliance rate was at 94.92 percent.
In 2014, about 65,301 out of 69,069 establishments gave their workers the 13th month pay, or a 94.23 percent compliance rate. Only 3,768 were reported as non-compliant.