Gov't asked to subsidize workers' 13th-month pay
Cagayan De Oro City Representative Rufus Rodriguez asked the national government to subsidize distressed employers with an amount of P13.7 billion so they can still provide their workers with 13th-month pay or Christmas bonus, according to a report by GMA News.
Rodriguez's appeal is contained in his House Resolution 1310, specifically addressed to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)
According to the lawmaker, employers in the micro, small, and medium-scale enterprises (MSMEs) are the ones who particularly need help.
Citing data from DOLE and the Philippine Statistics Authority, he said that between 1.5 million and 5.1 million MSME workers have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said in Cagayan De Oro City alone, more than 16,000 workers have been laid off due to the health crisis.
“2020 has been a very bad year for most Filipinos because of COVID-19 and its effects on their health, employment and income,” Rodriguez said.
“Our workers in the micro, small and medium enterprises have suffered so much since March 15 from layoffs or reduced working days up to now, and it will be cruel to deny Christmas to them by not giving their 13th month pay!” he added.
Rodriguez pointed out Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III's estimates that P5 billion to P13.7 billion will be needed to subsidize distressed MSME employers to enable them to pay their workers their 13th-month pay and Christmas bonus.
“The government, specifically the DOLE, should come in to implement a subsidy program and provide funds for qualified and distressed employers, particularly micro, small and medium-scale enterprises,” he 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.
Bello earlier 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,” he said.
“But the DOLE is very clear na kailangan bayaran sila on or before December 25,” he added.
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