Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) chief Silvestre Bello III said Thursday that all employers are mandated to pay 13th month pay on or before December 24, ending the issues surrounding workers’ financial benefit.
“We will not postpone, we will not defer, and we will not give any exception to the payment of the 13th month pay,” Bello said.
Presidential Decree No. 851 (1) Section 1 states that: “All employers are hereby required to pay all their employees receiving a basic salary of not more than P1,000 a month, regardless of the nature of their employment, a 13th month pay not later than December 24 of every year.”
On Tuesday afternoon, the DOLE, the National Tripartite Industrial Peace Council, labor and business groups discussed the issue.
“Pero, last night during the Cabinet meeting, I had the occasion to discuss this with Secretary Mon Lopez, my partner, the DTI. Sabi ko, ’Sec. Mon, meron kaming proposal dito na ‘yung mga distressed companies will be exempted,’” Bello said.
Bello earlier said the 13th month pay deferment is still better than exempting companies in distress in providing it.
“‘Pero mayroon another option’ kako ko sa kaniya. ‘The other option is instead of exemption, puwedeng deferment.’ And I was surprised with the reaction of Secretary Mon Lopez. Sabi niya, ‘okay, puwede rin. Instead of exemption, puwede rin na deferment na lang’,” he added.
DOLE: No deferment of 13th month pay this year
“The law has not been amended. That is the law,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque told a press briefing.
“Let’s allow the DOLE (Department of Labor and Employment) to study that. But I think until a new law is passed, that cannot be deferred,” he added.
Kidapawan Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo, national director of Caritas Philippines, also opposed 13th month pay.
“Withholding of the 13th month pay is adding insults to injury; It is a great injustice and inhuman to not give the 13th month pay at this time when many ordinary workers are affected, financially, by this pandemic,” Bishop Bagaforo added.