MANILA, Philippines — Business permits of companies should not be renewed if they fail to give their workers their 13th-month pay.
This was the suggestion of Senator Raffy Tulfo during Tuesday’s Senate committee hearing on labor, employment, and human resources development, noting that many workers have not received their 13th-month pay even after the December 24 deadline set under the law.
A 13th-month pay is a mandatory benefit for employees. It is one-twelfth of the worker’s basic salary within a calendar year.
“Ganito na lang po, mag-issue po kayo ng warning sa lahat po ng mga employer na there will be dire consequences kapag hindi po naibigay ang 13th-month pay on time this year 2022,” Tulfo proposed to Labor Assistant Secretary Lennard Serrano.
(How about this, you warn all employers that there will be dire consequences if their employees’ 13th-month pay will not be given on time this year 2022.)
The neophyte senator likewise urged the Department of Labor and Employment to team up with local government units or Business Permit and Licensing Offices to make 13th-month payment a requirement for renewing a business permit.
“Failing to do so, hindi po ma-renew ang kanyang permit (the permit will not be renewed), how’s that?” he asked.
Serrano took note of Tulfo’s suggestion, but said they could only remind employers to implement their labor advisories.
Tulfo, however, lamented that advisories do not affect employers as long as those will not hurt them.
“‘Yung advisory po ‘yan balewala po ‘yan sa mga employer. Habang hindi po sila nasasaktan, balewala sa kanila ‘yan,” he said, pointing out that the mandatory 13th-month pay is already a law, yet is being violated.
(Those advisories are nothing to employers. As long as they are not affected, they would not mind that.)
Tulfo likewise pushed for creating a complaint hotline for employees who would not be able to receive their benefits.
In the end, Serrano committed not to issue clearance for Certificate of General Labor Standards to employers who will not give their workers their 13th-month pay.
“Firstly, we’ll order them to pay. Kung hindi pa rin po magbabayad, hindi po sila bibigyan ng clearance sa kanilang Certificate of General Labor Standards,” he assured the senator.
(Firstly, we’ll order them to pay. If they will still not pay, they will not be given clearance for their Certificate of General Labor Standards.) — Trisha Manalaysay, trainee