The Department of Labor and Employment on Saturday said the deferment of giving 13th month pay can be agreed upon by the employers and their employees through a dialogue.
“Depende yan sa pag-uusap ng management at labor group. Kung papayag ang mga empleyado... depende ‘yan sa usapan nila,” Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said in an interview on Dobol B sa News TV.
“But the DOLE is very clear na kailangan bayaran sila on or before December 25,” Bello said.
Presidential Decree 851 mandates employers from the private sector to pay their rank-and-file employees a 13th month pay not later than December 24 every year.
Under PD 851, the 13th month pay should be equivalent to 1/12 of an employee's basic annual salary.
On Friday, the Labor chief floated the possibility of allowing companies “in distress” not to pay out the mandatory benefit.
The plan was met with opposition from the labor sector as it is against PD 851 or 13th Month Pay law.
In the radio interview, Bello clarified that while the law does not state exemptions, its implementing rules and regulations provides exemption for distressed employers.
Under Section 7 of PD 851’s IRR, “distressed employers shall qualify for exemption from the requirement of the Decree upon prior authorization by the Secretary of Labor.”
Bello said the DOLE will have a dialogue with labor groups, employers groups, the Department and Trade and Industry (DTI) to iron out details on what constitutes a company in distress to be entitled for an exemption.
“Pupulungin namin ang labor at saka management groups, kasama rin ang DTI para pagusapan kung ano ang ibig sabihin ng ‘in distress.’ Magkakaroon ng advisory kung ano ang ‘in distress’,” he said, noting that the meeting will be next week. —LBG, GMA News