No separation pay is warranted when an employee is dismissed for just cause

Persida Acosta

Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
I was terminated from my employment because of excessive tardiness and absences. Although I admit that it was partly my fault, I still sought reconsideration from my employer. To be honest, I have been having so many family problems, which ended up affecting my work. Whenever my husband and I would fight, I could not go to work because of the stress I face. Assuming that my employer denies my request for reconsideration, is it possible for me to ask them to recompense me with separation pay because I have worked with the company for eight years? Apart from all the sacrifices I have made for the company, I need some financial assistance from them to help me start over and find another job. I hope you can advice me. Thank you and more power.

Dear Ronda,
Every employee enjoys a security of tenure. A probationary employee may not be terminated during the period of such probationary employment, unless there is a just or authorized cause for such termination. In the same manner, a contractual employee may not be terminated within the period stipulated in the contract, save in cases where there are valid and legal grounds. Insofar as regular employees are concerned, their employment services may not be terminated except for just or authorized cause (Article 279, Presidential Decree No. 442 or more commonly known as the Labor Code of the Philippines, as amended).

Articles 282, 283 and 284 of the Labor Code enumerate the just or authorized causes for termination of the employer-employee relationship. Among these causes is gross and habitual neglect of duties. According to Article 282 (b), id: “An employer may terminate an employment for any of the following causes: x x x (b) Gross and habitual neglect by the employee of his duties; x x x”

In your letter, you clearly admitted that you were terminated by your employer for causes attributable to your own fault. You mentioned that you have acquired numerous tardiness and absences, which prompted your employer to conclude your services with them. As this matter falls within the ambit of Article 282 (b) of the Labor Code, there is no reason to give you a separation pay. It bears stressing that the law does not confer such compensation to terminated employees for any of the grounds mentioned under Article 282, id.

While you may have also contributed to your company for the eight (8) years you have worked with them, such will not suffice to grant you a separation pay or financial assistance. The Supreme Court has already ruled that: “x x x Separation pay is only warranted when the cause for termination is not attributable to the employee’s fault, such as those provided in Articles 283 and 284 of the Labor Code, as well as in cases of illegal dismissal in which reinstatement is no longer feasible. It is not allowed when an employee is dismissed for just cause, x x x. In fact, in the recent case of Toyota Motors Philippines, Corp. Workers Association (TMPCWA) v. National Labor Relations Commission, we ruled that separation pay shall not be granted to all employees who are dismissed on any of the four grounds provided in Article 282 of the Labor Code.” (Reno Foods Inc. and/or Vicente Khu vs. Nagkakaisang Lakas ng Manggagawa (NLM)-KATIPUNAN on behalf of its member, Nenita Capor, G.R. No. 164016, 615 SCRA 240, March 15, 2010).

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.

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


Please follow our commenting guidelines.

1 Comment

  1. Dear PAO,

    Here’s the scenario, probationary employees resign without prior 30 day notice. The company sends a Return to Work Order on the 4th day that the employees did not come to work for the reason that the resignations have not been accepted, then the employees came back, unfortunately, the company will be closed and cannot afford to take them in again. My question is are they still entitled to separation pay?

    Thank you for your response!