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Palace insists 13th month pay is 'mandatory'

Alexis Romero - Philstar.com
Palace insists 13th month pay is 'mandatory'
Stock image of P1,000 bills.
The STAR / Walter Bollozos, File

MANILA, Philippines — Employers are required to give their workers their 13th-month pay but the government is ready to help pandemic-affected companies who are not capable of doing so, Malacañang said Thursday.

"You know, the issue on whether there will be exemptions on the payment of the 13th-month pay also came up last year. The answer is no, because it is in the law," presidential spokesman Harry Roque said at a press briefing.

"But we know that many small and medium scale industries are having difficulties because of the lockdown. So our government will give assistance through the Small Business Corp. to small and medium scale industries who need help in paying the 13th-month pay," he added.

Under Presidential Decree No. 851m private sector employers should pay their rank-and-file employees a 13th month pay not later than December 24 every year.

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted the government to impose lockdowns and other mobility restrictions, forcing several businesses to suspend or terminate their operations.

Officials are now imposing localized lockdowns in Metro Manila, admitting that wide-scale lockdowns are harmful to the economy. The government is studying whether the implementation of granular lockdowns can be expanded to other areas as it balances the need to contain the virus while promoting business activity.

The trade department previously said some P30 billion in lost wages may return if quarantine measures in Metro Manila are relaxed.

13TH MONTH PAY
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