Malacañang said today that the 13th month pay of workers cannot be deferred even when there is a pandemic unless the law is amended.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after the Department of Labor and Employment said that it is studying exempting some “distressed” business establishments from giving the 13th month pay to employees.
Roque said that 13th month pay cannot be deferred because it is mandated by law.
“The law has not been amended. That is the law. That is the mandatory provision of the Labor Code,” he said.
However, Roque said that the DoLE should still study the proposal.
“Pabayaan po natin pag-aralan ng DoLE. Pero sa aking tingin, hanggang magkaroon ng bagong batas, hindi po ‘yan pwede ma-defer (Let DoLE look into it. But I think as long as we don’t have a new law, the 13th month pay cannot be deferred),” he said.
In a press briefing last week, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said DoLE would need to come up with an advisory defining companies considered “distressed” in order to be exempted from giving the mandatory benefit.
He added that the deferment of the 13th month pay may be more acceptable because it will allow business owners to give it in the succeeding months.
“Pakiusapan natin ‘yong mga businessmen na one-time lang naman ito. Kung kaya ninyo ibigay, ibigay. Kung hindi, baka pwede I-postpone (We will ask the businessmen that it is a one-time thing. If they can give it, then go ahead. If not, maybe we can postpone it),” Bello said.
The COVID-19 pandemic left businesses closed for at least three months due to quarantine restrictions.