The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Wednesday said it does not see any problem with the payment of 13th month pay for private sector employees on an installment basis.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, however, said this arrangement must be mutually agreed upon by employers and their employees.
“The employers will ask Juan dela Cruz, I want to give you your 13th month pay but not in full, maybe two gives. The first half will be paid this year and then the other half next year. If the employee agrees, there is no problem. The law on 13th month pay is a benefit that is intended for the employee. when the employee says, ‘Go ahead I can wait until next year’, there is no problem then,” Bello said in a virtual forum.
Bello added that while he understands the plight of employers who are still reeling from the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, they have to comply with the law.
“This is a statutory obligation. We cannot avoid that, we have to pay it. If you don’t pay that, the employee will definitely file a case. So I advise our employers that they can talk to their employees. Our employees know the condition of our employers, explain maybe. They have to come up with some creative consensus to address this problem,” he added.
Under Presidential Decree 851, employers are mandated to pay the 13th month pay on or before December 24.
The payment shall not be less than one-twelfth (1/12) of the total basic salary earned by an employee within a calendar year.