All wage and salary workers in the country are entitled to the 13th month pay as mandated by law but not the Christmas bonus which is only discretionary on the part of employers, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) today said.

Labor and Employment Secretary Arturo D. Brion cited Presidential Decree 851 issued by late President Marcos on December 16, 1975 requiring all employers to give their rank and file workers a 13th month pay regardless of the nature of their employment.

Brion said the decree, which has the force of law, provides that the 13th month should not be less than the monthly basic salary of the worker, and should be given to workers not later than December 24 of every year.

The 13th month pay is different from the Christmas bonus, Brion said noting that workers should not confuse the former with the bonus.

He clarified that the Christmas bonus is not part of the benefit mandated by law although employers may also grant their workers bonuses on top of the 13th month pay depending on their discretion and the CBA (collective bargaining agreement) and other agreements they may have entered into with the workers’ group.

The workers can only ask the management to grant them Christmas bonus which is discretionary on the part of the employer, Brion said.

He stressed, however, that all wage and salary workers should receive the 13th month pay and report to the nearest DOLE office those employers who are unable to pay them the 13th month pay on or before Dec. 24.

source: Information and Publication Service

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