13th-month pay in the Philippines to be pro-rated
According to the guidelines, the pay should be proportionate to the number of days the employees reported for work after work was suspended due to the pandemic.
“Because there were many employees who weren’t able to go to work due to suspension of work, the pay is only proportionate, which is the right computation of 13th month pay that the employer has to pay to the employees. Due to that, the amount will only be less,” Undersecretary Benjo Benavidez said.
DOLE also said that no request or application for exemption from payment of the 13th month pay, or for deferment of the payment would be accepted and allowed.
As such, to help employers, especially the small businesses, Benavidez said DOLE will offer soft loans to companies so that they can pay the salaries of their workers.
Concurring, Labour Secretary Silvestre Bello III recently said the 13th month pay should be given to employees in accordance with the law.
He said, “The 13th month pay is a statutory obligation and there are no excuses. (Employers) need to pay it. Although we understand that many companies might find it difficult, it should be given to the employees.”
Bello said businesses can negotiate with their employees, especially if they are unionized, to ask if they could postpone the release of the 13th month pay or opt for a prorated payment. If an agreement is reached, the 13th month pay may be disbursed in instalments, according to SunStar.