Despite recent disasters that hit some parts of the country, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has yet to receive any application for exemption from the payment of 13th- month pay for workers.
In an interview on Wednesday, Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III said this could be an indication that even calamity-stricken companies are paying their employees the monetary benefit mandated by Presidential Decree 851.
“In order for them [employers] to be exempted [from paying 13th-month pay], they would have [to] prove to us that they are financially incapable paying it [to their workers],” Bello said.
“We still have to get any such request,” he added.
Many parts of the country are still reeling from the impact of the series of strong earthquakes, which devastated some parts of Mindanao in November and Typhoon Tisoy, which left a wide swath of destruction in some parts of Luzon and Visayas.
Bello noted that exemption from 13th-month payment is rarely granted by DOLE since companies tend to already factor it in their annual expenses.
“They are already prepared for it. Some even already paid the 13th-month pay of their workers as early as six months ago so it will not be much burden to their finances,” Bello said.
He also said this is also the reason why they receive only few complaints of none payment of 13th pay.
Bello reminded all employers to complete the 13th-month payment to their workers before its deadline on December 24.
He said they will issue compliance orders against firms, which will not comply with the said regulation.
PD 851 covers all rank-and-file employees in the private sector regardless of their position, designation or employment status.