Bello eyes subsidy for 13th month pay of workers of cash-strapped firms
MANILA, Philippines — Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III on Wednesday said he would consider the suggestion of distressed employers for the government to subsidize the cost of the 13th month pay of their employees.
Bello said he plans to talk with Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III regarding the proposal of the employers.
“Pagaaralan namin ngayon kung ano ang ipapapalabas kong order, iko-consider ko din yung sinabi ng employer na baka pakiusapan ko na lang si Secretary Dominguez ng Finance, e papatulong ako kay, yung partner ko, si Secretary (Ramon) Lopez ng DTI (Department of Trade and Industry),” he said in an interview over Teleradyo.
(We are studying what I will release, I will also consider the suggestion of some employers, I could maybe appeal to Secretary Dominguez of Finance, I will seek the help of Secretary Lopez of DTI.)
“Lambingin namin si Finance Secretary na baka naman pumayag kayo i-subsidize na natin yung mga employers na nalulugi,” he added.
(We could appeal to the Finance Secretary that maybe they could allow the subsidization of the 13th month pay cost of distressed employers.)
This comes after Bello met with labor groups and employers to discuss a possible deferment of the payment of the 13th-month bonus as the COVID-19 pandemic impacts businesses.
“Ang gusto nung mga workers e bayaran sila nung 13th month pay dahil yun ang nakasaad sa [Presidential Decree No. 851,” the labor chief said.
(The workers want to be paid their 13th month pay because that is what is provided under Presidential Decree No. 851.)
“Yun po ng kanilang position, medyo matigas ang position nila,” he added.
(That is their position, they are firm with their position.)
Under Presidential Decree No. 851, companies are required to give workers a 13th-month pay, which is basically a twelfth of a person’s annual earnings.
This bonus is given before the end of each year, separate from other year-end bonuses.
Bello said that while employers want to give their employees their 13th month pay, the pandemic has affected their capacity to do so.
“Ang mga employers naman, sabi nila gusto namin magbigay…they’re willing to pay kaya lang di nila kaya. Mahina talaga ang negosyo,” he said.
(Meanwhile, the employers, they said they want to pay…they’re willing to pay but they can’t…Business is weak right now.)
Meanwhile, Bello insisted that while the enabling law for the release of 13th month pay does not provide exemptions, he noted that its implementing rules and regulations exempts “distressed” employers or companies.
Nevertheless, the labor secretary acknowledged the need of workers to receive their 13th month bonus, especially amid the pandemic.
“Very insecure yung mga workers natin e matagal na nilang inaabangan itong benepisyo nila,” he said.
(They are very insecure because they have been waiting for these benefits.)
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