File labor case before NLRC to compel 13th month payment

Persida Acosta

Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
I resigned from my work abruptly and was allowed by my boss. After I turned over all the company’s properties in my possession, I decided to send him a message in his e-mail to make peace with him. He accepted my apology and said that I was forgiven. I e-mailed him again cordially asking for my 13th month pay, but he said that I am no longer entitled to it because I am already resigned. Is this true? If not, how can I get it?

Dear Ellen,
The 13th month pay is an additional benefit that is paid to covered employees by their employers which is 1/12 of the employee’s total basic salary in one year. This is a statutory obligation to which employers must comply with (Section 2(a), Rules and Regulations Implementing Presidential Decree No. 851).

According to the Revised Guidelines on the Implementation of the 13th-Month Pay Law, even resigned employees are entitled to this benefit, to wit:

“6. 13th Month Pay of Resigned or Separated Employee.

An employee who has resigned or whose services were terminated at any time before the time for payment of the 13th month pay is entitled to this monetary benefit in proportion to the length of time he worked during the year, reckoned from the time he started working during the calendar year up to the time of his resignation or termination from the service. Thus, if he worked only from January up to September his proportionate 13th month pay should be equivalent of 1/12 his total basic salary he earned during that period.

The payment of the 13th month pay may be demanded by the employee upon the cessation of employer-employee relationship. This is consistent with the principle of equity that as the employer can require the employee to clear himself of all liabilities and property accountability, so can the employee demand the payment of all benefits due him upon the termination of the relationship.”

Clearly, assuming that you are covered by the 13th-Month Pay Law during your stint as an employee of your immediate former employer, you are still entitled to it even if you resigned or separated from your work. It is mandatory for your former employer to pay you this benefit, albeit pro rata. If despite formal notice, he/she still refuses or fails to pay you, you may file an appropriate labor case before the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) to compel the payment thereof.

Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.

We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.

Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to


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