Private sector workers can look forward to a merry holiday season despite the Covid-19 pandemic as they would get their 13th month pay before Christmas, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said yesterday
In a Laging Handa briefing, Bello said the DOLE will implement Presidential Decree 851 which provides for the grant of the mandatory benefit.
“We will not postpone, we will not defer and we will not give an exemption to the payment of 13th month pay. The law says pay the workers the 13th month pay on or before December 24 and that will be implemented by DOLE,” Bello added.
He said they are preparing a proposal to be submitted to the Department of Finance to provide subsidy to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) for the grant of the benefit to their workers.
“Aside from the proposal for subsidy, we also have an alternative proposal to open the line of banks for these companies to get loans,” he added.
He said the DOLE will release today an advisory on the grant of the 13th month pay and the request of employers to extend the rehiring period for workers on floating status.
‘VICTORY FOR WORKERS’
Labor groups called the labor department’s decision a victory for workers.
“This is our triumph for being one in letting our voices be heard. Despite the attempt to ignore our rights, we fought for our 13th-month pay. Long live the workers,” Elmer Labog, chairperson of Kilusang Mayo Uno, said in a statement.
Labog also welcomed the DOLE’s plan to seek subsidies for MSMEs that have been affected by the pandemic.
“The government must provide assistance to distressed companies,” he said, urging Congress to pass a pro-people budget to ensure steady funds and assure that workers’ economic rights are upheld.
The Associated Labor Unions also lauded the DOLE for its decision not to allow the deferment of the mandatory benefit.
ALU executive vice president, Gerard Seno, said in a statement the DOLE’s pronouncement would boost the morale of millions of private-sector employees, who are struggling amid the health crisis.
Trade Union Congress of the Philippines president Raymond Mendoza, meanwhile, applauded Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez for supporting the decision of DOLE and helping troubled businesses pay the mandatory benefit by making loan facilities accessible to them.*PNA
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