Negocc labor lauds refiling of 14th month bill
FOR a labor group in Negros Occidental, the measure seeking anew the provision of 14th month pay for private sector workers in the country is a welcome development.
Wennie Sancho, secretary general of General Alliance of Workers Associations (Gawa), said 14th month pay will serve as supplemental income for the workers to augment their meager salary.
“The management has to understand that the 13th month pay being received by the workers is already passé as there have been reductions on their purchasing power,” he added.
On July 1, Senate President Vicente Sotto III filed Senate Bill 10 that seeks to require employers in the private sector to remunerate the 14th month pay.
Prior to this, Sotto filed Senate Bill No. 2 also seeking for 14th month pay which has been pending in the Senate since July 2016.
The senator said the 13th month pay is gobbled up by Christmas expenses. Thus, there is a need for extra earnings in the middle of the year to help ordinary workers in school and medical expenses.
“Health and education needs of the ordinary Filipino must be assisted by our government,” Sotto said, stressing that the latest wage increase of P25 is too small compared to the daily expenses of ordinary workers.
He further said that improved business earnings have not cascaded on its own and that several labor groups have been petitioning for the increase in minimum wage.
The proposed measure covers all non-government rank and file employees regardless of their employment status, designation and irrespective of the method by which their wages are paid provided that they have worked at least one month during the calendar year.
Under which, the 13th month pay shall be paid not later than June 14 and the 14th month pay shall be paid not later than December 24 of every year provided, however, that the frequency of payment of this monetary benefits may be the subject of agreement between employer and employee or any recognized or collective bargaining agent of employees.
The proposal pegs the minimum amount of the 14th month pay at not less than 1/12 of the total basic salary earned by the employee within the calendar year. It should not be below the employees’ basic salary.
Sancho again called on lawmakers, especially those from Negros, to support the proposed measure as it will benefit thousands of workers in the province as well as their families.
“This should be a national effort,” Sancho said, reiterating that “employees in the government have been enjoying many perks that can also be shared to private sector workers."
The labor leader said considering the high prices of basic goods and services, there should be a supplemental income like in the form of 14th-month pay for the workers in the private sector.
The local business, earlier, expressed apprehensions on the bill as “it may deter business growth.”
Frank Carbon, chief
executive officer of Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI), said the proposal to require private companies to pay their rank-andfile employees a 14thmonth pay will lead to laziness on the part of the workers.
“It will not invite businesses to grow,” Carbon said, adding that “what is needed maybe is incentive or productivity bonus, not a 14th-month pay that will make workers to just wait instead of encouraging them to work hard.”/with reports from Sunstar Philippines