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Early Christmas for state workers

GOOD news for the more than 1.5 million government employees, their Christmas bonus will be released this month.

This was announced and welcomed by House committee on public accounts chairman Rep. Mike Defensor, who said state workers will be receiving their Cristmas bonus starting this week.

Under Section 8 of Republic Act No. 11466 or Salary Standardization Law 5, the year-end bonus equivalent to one-month salary, plus a P5,000 cash gift, “shall be given in November of every year.”

Defensor said the mandate of the law is restated in National Budget Circular No. 579, which Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado issued in January this year.

“I am assuming that the budget secretary has released the funds needed for the payment of the government workers’ Christmas bonus and P5,000 cash gift,” Defensor added.

According to the House leader, if the funds are already available, agencies could begin giving the bonus on November 15.

“And since this week’s payday falls on Sunday, the bonus could be advanced as early as Thursday for personnel on a four-day work week, or Friday for those on the usual five-day work schedule, or on Monday,” he said.

Defensor noted that last year, most agencies released the Christmas bonus in mid-November.

Meanwhile, Defensor urged private sector employers to release the 13th-month pay or yearend bonus of their employees early.

He said paying the bonus ahead of Dec. 25 schedule would be a “gesture of compassion” on the part of employers.

“That will surely ease the financial burden our workers and our people have to face every day because of the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting economic difficulties. Many of them are forced to resort to borrowing money just to make both ends meet,” he said.

He said private sector employees could also do early shopping to escape the Christmas chaos.

RA No. 11466, signed by President Duterte on January 8 this year, contains the newest four-year salary upgrading program in the bureaucracy.

Avisado’s Budget Circular 579 implements the program.

Under the law, the lowest-paid worker gets an adjusted monthly salary of P11,551 up to P12,244, depending on length of service, this year. The pay increases to P13,00-P13,780 on the fourth year (2023).

On the other hand, the highest-paid official, the President, receives P407,734 this year. His salary goes up to P431,718 in 2023.

The law applies not only to national government agencies but to state corporations and local government units as well.

However, it does not apply to President Duterte and incumbent members of the House of Representatives and the Senate. The Constitution prohibits them from being beneficiaries of their official acts.

Publication Source :    People's Journal