Gov't agencies urged to release mid-year bonuses a day ahead of schedule

Published May 10, 2021, 3:36 PM

by Ben Rosario

Anakalusugan Partylist Rep. Mike Defensor on Monday, May 10 called on government to release a day early the mid-year bonuses of its personnel, possibly on May 14.d Under Republic Act No. 11466, state workers, from the President down to the lowest paid janitor or clerk, are entitled to a mid-year incentive equivalent to one month salary. The law states that the mid-year bonus should be given “not earlier than May 15 of every year.” “The early release of their incentive will be a big help to our more than one million workforce in the bureaucracy amid the pandemic, especially our healthcare and other front-liner workers, ” Defensor said.

The administration lawmaker noted that this year, May 15 falls on a Saturday, thus, state workers will have to wait until the coming Monday for their incentive pays.

“I am appealing to our agencies to advance the payment of the bonus on Friday,” he said.

He said the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) was expected to have already released to the various government agencies the incentives.

The partylist solon pointed out that under the law, personnel who have rendered service for at least four months as of May 15 are entitled to the mid-year bonus, ranging from P12,034 for the lowest-paid employee to P415,728 for the President.

He noted that government nurses should be getting a bigger amount of incentive and monthly salary if the DBM had not demoted them in Budget Circular No. 2020-4.

The circular implements the ruling of the Supreme Court that nurses in public hospitals are entitled to Salary Grade 15 entry-level pay (P33,575), as the Philippine Nursing Act of 2002 provides, instead of the P21,000 Salary Grade 11 compensation they had been receiving.

“Our nurses waited for almost 20 years to receive the minimum salary they are entitled to under the law. But the DBM has undermined the Supreme Court ruling and the law by demoting our senior nurses,” Defensor said.

He said under the DBM circular, Nurse II positions were “modified” to Nurse I, Nurse III to Nurse II, Nurse IV to Nurse III, Nurse V to Nurse IV, Nurse VI to Nurse V, and Nurse VII to Nurse VI, although the issuance provides that nurses would maintain their salary levels.

“The DBM was right in complying with the SC ruling and the law by fixing the minimum pay for our nurses at Salary Grade 15 (Nurse I). But it should have adjusted the pay levels of senior nurses a grade higher instead of demoting them to avoid paying higher salaries,” he said.

Defensor said the DBM circular is “most unfair to Nurse II position holders because they were already receiving Salary Grade 15 pay, which should have been upgraded to at least Salary Grade 16, or P36,628 from P33,575, or an increase of P3.053.” He added that personnel holding Nurse II positions, who have a job experience of at least three years, were lumped with new recruits at Nurse I and Salary Grade 15.