Employers told to release 13th month pay on time

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WITH a little over 50 days to go before Christmas, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) reminded employers to release the 13th month pay of workers on time or not later than December 24.

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Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello 3rd on Tuesday said all workers who have rendered at least one month of service are entitled to a 13th month salary as mandated by law, except those who are holding managerial positions, among others.

“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 in a year,” Bello added.

Labor laws and their implementing rules and regulations mandate the payment of 13th month pay.

“The 13th month pay is a labor standard provision of the law that the DOLE does not compromise as to its payment. And employers are duty-bound under the law to report their compliance with this worker benefit,” Bello said.

Under the Labor Code, every covered employer is required to make a report of compliance to the nearest DOLE regional office not later than January 15 of each year.

Contractual workers are entitled as well to a 13th month pay under a DOLE regulation issued in 2011 by former Labor chief Rosalinda Baldoz.

Under the regulation, contractual employees are entitled to 13th month pay and other benefits provided under the Labor Code including the right to self-organize and negotiate a collective bargaining agreement.

Employees excluded from coverage of 13th month pay law are managerial employees; those covered under the Civil Service Law; household helpers and person in the personal service of another; those paid on purely commission, boundary or task basis; those paid monthly for performing specific work except those paid on a piece-rate basis; and those already receiving 13th month pay or its equivalent, Christmas bonus, mid-year bonus, cash bonuses and other payments amounting to not less than one-twelfth (1/12) of the basic salary.

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 allowance or 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.

Employers failing to pay the 13th month benefit are liable to money claim cases that aggrieved employees may file with any DOLE regional office.

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