I was hired two months ago as a delivery boy of a construction establishment. Despite the fact that it is located three cities away from where I reside and that I was informed that my salary will only be minimum wage, I still accepted the job1 because I need to support my wife and two children. However, I was shocked when I was only given half of my salary and the other half was in the form of supplies. Do I have any course of action against my employer? I hope to hear from you soon.
Dear Ren Ren,
Employees are entitled to receive the salaries and wages as agreed upon under the contract of employment, which is in consonance with existing laws and regulations. As a rule, salaries and wages shall only be paid in the form of legal tender. While payment by way of checks or money order may be allowed, payment by other means is considered unlawful. This is explicitly stated under Article 102 of Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 442 as amended, otherwise known as the Labor Code of the Philippines, that: “No employer shall pay the wages of an employee by means of promissory notes, vouchers, coupons, tokens, tickets, chits, or any object other than legal tender, even when expressly requested by the employee. x x x Payment of wages by check or money order shall be allowed when such manner of payment is customary on the date of effectivity of this Code, or is necessary because of special circumstances as specified in appropriate regulations to be issued by the Secretary of Labor and Employment or as stipulated in a collective bargaining agreement.”
Accordingly, you can demand from your employer to pay your full salary in money or legal tender. Should they insist in paying half of your salary in the form of supplies, you may consider filing a labor complaint against them before the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) for violation of the afore-stated law.
Apart from that, you may consider filing a criminal complaint for other similar coercions. As provided for under Article 288 of the Revised Penal Code:
“The penalty of arresto mayor or a fine ranging from 200 to 500 pesos, or both, shall be imposed upon any person, agent or officer, of any association or corporation who shall force or compel, directly or indirectly, or shall knowingly permit any laborer or employee employed by him or by such firm or corporation to be forced or compelled, to purchase merchandise or commodities of any kind.
The same penalties shall be imposed upon any person who shall pay the wages due a laborer or employee employed by him, by means of tokens or objects other than the legal tender currency of the laborer or employee.” (Emphasis supplied)
We hope that we were able to answer your query. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org