MANILA — Employers are required to give the 13th month pay of workers—unless they are "distressed" due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said Tuesday.
A presidential decree in 1975 mandated the 13th month pay. In the same year, then DOLE chief Blas Ople identified exemptions through Implementing Rules and Regulations, said Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello.
In August 1986, then President Cory Aquino came up with a memorandum order also identified exceptions for this mandatory benefit, he said.
"The law is very clear: we have to pay our workers on or before 24 of December their 13th month pay. The only exception as provided by IRR... is when the company is in distress," Bello told reporters.
The DOLE will meet at 2 p.m. with around 20 labor unions and management associations about which companies should be considered as "distressed."
"Malalaman natin mamaya kung sino ang mga exempted," he said.
(We will know later who will be exempted.)
Another option that authorities are looking at is deferment of the 13th month pay, said Bello.
"This will be the issue that will be discussed and hopefully we can come up and arrive at a consensus," he said.