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Workers group urges employers to comply with mandated 13th month pay bonus

By Associated Labor Unions (ALU)
November 19, 2016

QUEZON CITY – All rank-and-file employees including regular and contractual workers are entitled to a 13th month pay cash bonus and they must assert their rightful claim to it because it is mandated by law as incentive to workers for helping the economy grow, reminds labor group Associated Labor Unions (ALU) said yesterday.

“All rank-and-file employees regardless of position, designation or employment status have all the right to claim their thirteenth month pay cash bonus. Even if you are employed for even at least a month during the calendar year or receiving salary of P1,000 per month, they can avail of this bonus,” said Alan Tanjusay, ALU spokesperson.

He clarified that 13th month pay is different than Christmas bonus.

Christmas bonus is not mandated by law but a discretionary act of goodwill on the part of the employers. The Christmas bonus may come in the form of cash or kind or combination of both.

However, the minimum 13th month pay bonus is required by law. The bonus must be equivalent to a month’s basic pay excluding allowances, overtime pay, premium pay, night shift differential, holiday pay, profit-sharing payments, cash equivalent of unused vacation and sick leave.

Tanjusay said the bonus must be received in cash not in kind. “Employers must give it in cash. If employers convert it to rice or grocery items, it’s not 13th month pay bonus anymore. The bonus must be in cash. If they want to give rice and grocery items, it is welcome but it must be received as additional bonus.”

“Hindi rin po pwede na utangin ng employer ang 13th month pay bonus na ito sa kanyang manggagawa. Bawal po ito,” he added.

He called on the government’s Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to strongly enforce the law because some abusive employers resort to different schemes and tactics to avoid paying the mandated thirteenth month bonus.

He said aside from converting thirteenth month bonus to grocery items, gadgets or appliances, some employers resort to giving token or raffle draw certain amount or gadgets and appliances to avoid paying thirteenth month pay.

According to the rules and regulation of Presidential Decree 851 otherwise known as 13th Month Pay Law, the 13th month pay shall be paid not later than December 24. However, an employer may give to his or her employees half of the 13th month pay before the opening of the regular school year and the remaining half on or before December 24 every year.

There are around 920,000 work establishments in the country employing 39 million workers in various major industry enterprises including agriculture, manufacturing and services sectors.

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