The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is set to come up with an advisory on the proper computation of 13th month pay for private-sector workers amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“We will issue that labor advisory to clarify exactly how much amount a worker will receive, especially now during the pandemic,” Labor Undersecretary Benjo Benavidez said in a Laging Handa briefing on Tuesday.
Benavidez added that since many workers have not reported to work and numerous establishments have either ceased or downgraded operations, the computation of the 13th month pay will be different.
“The understanding of most of our employers is that the 13th month pay is the total monthly salary of the worker, but the computation of the 13th month pay is not like that because many workers did not report to work, and we implemented suspensions of work. I think it is only proportionate that we have a correct computation,” he added.
Given this situation, Benavidez said it is likely that employers would spend less for the 13th month pay of their workers.
Benavidez reminded that the payment of the benefit is a statutory obligation.
The move dovetails with the pro-business declarations of the administration.
In February, President Rodrigo Duterte issued Proclamation 1107, which revised the list of holidays for 2021.
Under the proclamation, the classifications of All Soul’s Day (Nov. 2), Christmas Eve (Dec. 24), and Last Day of the Year (Dec. 31) were changed from special non-working holidays to special working holidays.
DOLE said this means no special pay rules will take effect for the three holidays.
“It will be considered an ordinary working day but with commemoration, so no special [pay] rules,” Labor Assistant Secretary Teresita S. Cucueco explained.
Duterte said he opted to make the reclassification to “minimize work disruption” for companies, which were severely affected by the economic slowdown caused by the government quarantine restrictions to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Meanwhile, DOLE said that in 2020, the agency has logged an 85 percent compliance rate of employers or companies in giving 13th month pay.
Under the law, private-sector employees must receive their 13th month pay on or before December 24.