My aunt has been working as a household helper for two years now but she said her employer did not give her a bonus or 13th month pay last year. She is worried that the same thing might happen this year. Are workers like her really not entitled to a 13th month pay? Please advise me on this matter.
The benefit of a 13th month pay is expressly granted under our law. The minimum amount of which, according to the Revised Guidelines on the Implementation of Presidential Decree (PD) 851 or more commonly known as the 13th Month Pay Law, shall not be less than one-twelfth of the total basic salary earned by an employee within a calendar year.
Although pursuant to the Revised Guidelines, employers of household helpers are not covered by the mandate of PD 851, household helpers are nonetheless entitled to receive such benefit. This is in consonance with Republic Act 10361, or the Domestic Workers Act or Batas Kasambahay. As stated under Section 25 thereof:
Payment of wages shall be made on time directly to the domestic worker to whom they are due in cash at least once a month. The employer, unless allowed by the domestic worker through a written consent, shall make no deductions from the wages other than that which is mandated by law. No employer shall pay the wages of a domestic worker by means of promissory notes, vouchers, coupons, tokens, tickets, chits, or any object other than the cash wage as provided for under this Act.
The domestic worker is entitled to a thirteenth month pay as provided for by law. (Emphasis supplied)
To be more precise, the benefit of 13th month pay is included in the enumeration of rights and privileges of domestic workers under Section 1, Rule IV of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 10361. Section 8 thereof explicitly declares that a domestic worker is entitled to a 13th month pay, which shall not be less than one-twelfth of his/her total basic salary earned within a calendar year provided that he/she has rendered at least one month of service. Such benefit must be paid not later than December 24 of every year or upon separation from employment.
Accordingly, your aunt may demand from her employer the benefit of a 13th month pay. Your aunt may opt to file a complaint against the former before the Field/Provincial/Regional Office of the Department of Labor and Employment should her employer fail to pay her such benefit for both last year and this year. (Section 1, Rule XI, Id.)
We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.