Malacañang said Monday that companies could not defer the release of 13th month pay of workers unless the law is amended.
Last week, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said, looking into the possible deferment of granting 13th month pay to workers.
“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.
According to Labor Chief Silvestre Bello III, postponing the release of 13th month pay could be a better option for workers than exempting COVID-19 hit companies and businesses from giving the mandated bonus compensation.
“Instead of not paying, why don’t we just consult labor and management so they could agree on deferment, let’s say give the benefit next year or next month,” Bello noted.
“For me, this is a more acceptable formula to address the issue of non-payment of the mandated benefit,” Bello said in a virtual press briefing.
The DOLE chief explained that commercial establishments classified as distressed are exempted from granting their workers with 13th month pay under the law.
Palace: 13th month pay cannot be deferred
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.”
Meanwhile, DOLE Undersecretary Benjo Benavidez said the National Tripartite Industrial Peace Council would convene today to discuss the release of the 13th month pay.
Benavidez said there is “no basis” for workers to be worried because Presidential Decree No. 851 has not been amended.
“There is also implementing rules and regulations stating that exemption (from paying the renumeration) is not automatic. They have to apply, and this must be justified.” Benavidez added.
Labor groups Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP), and Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU)oppose the deferment of 13th month pay.