DoLE: Firms not al­lowed to de­fer 13th month pay

Business World - - Front Page - Char­maine A. Tadalan

THE Depart­ment of La­bor and Em­ploy­ment (DoLE) on Thurs­day said com­pa­nies will not be al­lowed to de­fer the dis­tri­bu­tion of the 13th month pay of its work­ers, even as busi­nesses strug­gle amid the eco­nomic slow­down.

“We will not post­pone, we will not de­fer and we will not give any ex­emp­tion to the pay­ment of the 13th month pay,” La­bor Sec­re­tary Sil­vestre H. Bello III said in an on­line brief­ing, Thurs­day.

“Hindi pwe­deng i- de­fer (It can­not be de­ferred)... the em­ploy­ers should pay em­ploy­ees 13th month pay on or be­fore Dec. 24,” he added cit­ing Pres­i­den­tial De­cree No. 851.

The DoLE will is­sue a new or­der on the 13th month pay on Fri­day (Oct. 16).

Mr. Bello also made it clear it will not ex­empt any com­pany from the 13th month pay, but said the DoLE is work­ing on a pro­posed gov­ern­ment sub­sidy for com­pa­nies badly af­fected by the cri­sis. He said the pro­posal will

be sub­mit­ted to Fi­nance Sec­re­tary Car­los G. Dominguez III.

“Mal­iban sa pro­posal namin na mag­bi­gay ng sub­sidy ang at­ing gov­ern­ment, meron al­ter­na­tive pro­posal, and that is to open ’ yung linya ng mga

bangko, para makau­tang ’yung at­ing mga mi­cro and small en­ter­prises (Aside from the pro­posal to grant a sub­sidy, we also have an al­ter­na­tive pro­posal and that is for banks to ex­tend loans to MSMEs),” Mr. Bello said.

This fol­lowed the Na­tional Tri­par­tite In­dus­trial Peace Coun­cil meeting at­tended by Mr. Bello, Trade Sec­re­tary Ra­mon M. Lopez, Em­ploy­ers Con­fed­er­a­tion of the Philip­pines (ECoP) and other la­bor groups to set­tle dis­cus­sions on the 13th month pay.

ECoP ear­lier sought a de­fer­ment of the 13th month pay or ex­emp­tion for some firms. As a com­pro­mise, ECoP urged the gov­ern­ment to grant loans for com­pa­nies in or­der to cover the 13th month pay.

ECoP Pres­i­dent Ser­gio R. Or­tizLuis, Jr. said the ex­cep­tion pro­vided un­der the law ap­plies to busi­nesses in­cur­ring sub­stan­tial losses for the last two years.

“The re­al­ity is I don’t be­lieve any­body is go­ing to ap­ply for the ex­emp­tion. To be­gin with un­der the law, the ex­emp­tion, di na­man kasama ang pan­demic (is not cov­ered),” he said over phone, Thurs­day.

“My sug­ges­tion, which read­ily ev­ery­body agreed… why don’t the gov­ern­ment come up with a fa­cil­ity to lend those who have no cash to pay the 13th month pay.”

Mean­while, the As­so­ci­ated La­bor Union-Trade Union Congress of the Philip­pines (ALU-TUCP), which was also present dur­ing the meeting, wel­comed the DoLE’s de­ci­sion.

“This pos­i­tive de­vel­op­ment proves that so­cial di­a­logue between la­bor, busi­ness and gov­ern­ment par­tic­u­larly on im­por­tant is­sues in­volv­ing th­ese key sec­tors re­ally works,” ALU Na­tional Ex­ec­u­tive Vice- Pres­i­dent Ger­ard R. Seno said. —

PHILIP­PINE STAR/ MICHAEL VARCAS

COM­PA­NIES should dis­trib­ute the 13th month pay to their em­ploy­ees on or be­fore Dec. 24, the La­bor depart­ment said.

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