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Employers asked to release P13th month bonus early

HOUSE Assistant Majority Leader and Quezon City Rep. Precious Hipolito Castelo on Tuesday urged private sector employers to release the Christmas bonus of their workers ahead of the December 25 deadline set by law.

“Releasing the bonus or 13th-month pay early will surely ease the financial burden employees and our people have to face everyday because of the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Castelo.

Castelo said many Filipino families “are resorting to borrowing money to make both ends meet at this time of pandemic and economic difficulties.”

“Workers could avoid borrowing more money if they get their yearend bonus way ahead of schedule. They could also plan for their expenses for the Christmas season and do shopping early so they would not add to the Christmas rush and traffic,” said Castelo.

She pointed that releasing the 13th-month pay early would be a “gesture of compassion” on the part of employers, aside from complying with the law way ahead of the December 25 deadline.

“If they do that, they would also be following the example of the government, the country’s biggest employer, which releases the 14th-month pay of its more than one million personnel on Nov. 15,” she said.

The Quezon City House leader made the statements after Labor Sec. Silvestre “Bebot” Bello III declared that it should be paid on or before December 25 as required by law.

”We will not postpone or defer, and we will not give any exemption to the payment of 13th month pay. It cannot be deferred. The provision of Presidential Decree No. 851 is very specific, that employers should pay their employees their 13th month pay on or before Dec. 25,” he said on Thursday.

Bello also suggested that the government, through the Department of Trade and Industry, extend subsidies to medium and small-scale industries to enable them to comply with the requirement of Presidential Decree (PD) No. 851.