MANILA – The National Tripartite Industrial Peace Council (NTIPC) meets today, Tuesday to discuss the issue of exemption of companies from the required 13th month pay for workers in the light of the obtaining Covid-19 pandemic which has wrought financial havoc on businesses.
The payment of 13th-month pay is mandated under Presidential Decree 851 signed in 1975 by then President Ferdinand Marcos.
Covered by payment are rank and file employees who have served at least one year in the company where they are employed. It is usually given before Christmas in December every year.
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) was recently reported to be considering the grant of exemption to certain firms which have suffered tremendous losses due the imposition of extended community quarantine lockdowns to mitigate Covid-19 virus infections.
DOLE officials, however said they have yet receive applications for such exemptions.
Labor Undersecretary Benjo Benavidez said he has never encountered exemption requests from employers since he joined DOLE 12 years ago.
“I have been in the department for the past 12 years. I was assigned at the National Capital Region for five years and I have not encountered any employer who have filed an exemption request from paying the 13th-month pay,” he said during the recent V-Café@DOLE, a virtual media kapihan.
He added that there is an existing mechanism regarding exemption from paying the 13th-month pay, in the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of PD 851 issued in 1075 under then Labor Secretary Blas F. Ople but no one has availed of it.