By Ferdinand Patinio

DOLE Undersecretary Benjo Benavidez (File photo)

MANILA – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) reminded private sector employers to release the 13th month pay of their workers before Christmas.

In an interview Thursday, Labor Undersecretary Benjo Benavidez said the 13th month pay is mandatory pursuant to the Labor Code of the Philippines and Presidential Decree No. 851.

“May mga maliliit na negosyo ang umaapela (There are small businesses who are appealing) but 13th month pay is a legal obligation. Payment is the only remedy to extinguish a legal obligation. Covered employers are legally required to pay,” he added.

Those who are entitled to receive the payment are payment rank-and-file employees in the private sector regardless of their position, designation, or employment status, and irrespective of the method by which their wages are paid, provided that they have worked for at least one month during the calendar year.

Employees who are also paid on a piece-rate basis, fixed, or guaranteed wage plus commission; those with multiple employers; those who resigned; those who were terminated from employment; or those who were on maternity leave and received salary differential.

Earlier, the DOLE issued an advisory on the computation of 13th month pay. It should not be less than one-twelfth (1/12) of the total basic salary earned by an employee within the calendar year computed as follows: total basic salary / 12 months = proportionate 13th month pay.

To monitor compliance, the Department directed employers to submit a report through the DOLE Establishment Report System not later than Jan. 15, 2024.

The report shall contain the name of the establishment, address, principal product or business, total employment, the total number of workers benefitted, the amount granted per employee, and the total amount of benefits granted.

For further queries on the 13th month pay, the public is advised to call DOLE Hotline 1349, which is available 24/7. They can also call or text 0931-066-2573, from Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Inquiries may also be sent via electronic mail to hotline1349@dole.gov.ph or via direct message to DOLE’s Facebook Page. (PNA)