The head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines National Secretariat for Social Action Justice and Peace said withholding the 13th month pay at this time of the pandemic is a great injustice to workers.
“It is a great injustice and inhuman to not give the 13th month pay at this time when many ordinary workers are affected, financially, by this pandemic,” Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo told church-run Radio Veritas, Tuesday.
“Withholding of the 13th month pay is adding insult to injury,” he added.
Under Presidential Decree 851, all employers are required to pay all their employees a 13th-month pay not later than December 24 of every year.
The Implementing Rules and Regulations of PD No. 851, however, provides exemption to the payment of the 13th month pay if they are deemed as “distressed employers”, or those that are currently incurring substantial losses.
The Kidapawan prelate said the 13th month pay will be of help to people in need of extra funds during this hard times.
“Now is when our people need some extra funds because of the pandemic,” Bagaforo said.
“For small time employees, the 13th month spells a big difference for a meaningful celebration of Christmas and for some it is their lifeline,” he added.
According to the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) some 2 million workers may be unable to get their 13th month pay due to the losses suffered by companies amid the pandemic.
The National Tripartite Industrial Peace Council composed of labor groups, business and employers, and government met Tuesday to discuss the issue on 13th month pay among others.