Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III today reiterated his call for private employers for the release of workers’ 13th month pay.

“In the spirit of Christmas, I appeal to employers to give your workers their 13th month pay. Better yet, pay them now,” Bello said.

The 13th month pay is a general labor standard. Private sector employers are duty-bound under the law to report their compliance with this worker benefit.

Under the law, all employers are mandated to pay their 13th month pay on or before December 24, 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.

The Labor Code provides that 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.

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. — ###

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