The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has yet to receive requests from employers seeking an exemption from the payment of 13th-month pay amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
Labor Undersecretary Benjo Benavidez said based on his experience, he has not encountered exemption requests from employers regarding the matter.
“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 that an employer who filed an exemption for 13th-month pay,” he said during the V-Café@DOLE, a virtual media kapihan on Monday.
He added that there is an existing mechanism regarding the issue of the exemption from paying the 13th-month pay, which is equivalent to a one-month salary of workers in the private sector.
“There is what we call the implementing rules issued in 1975. But those implementing rules and regulations (IRR) in the most recent past, nobody has availed,” Benavidez said.
He added that the IRR was issued by then Labor Secretary Blas Ople that employers may be exempted but they would have to apply for it.
He added the National Tripartite Industrial Peace Council (NTIPC) is set to meet on Tuesday to discuss the matter among other issues.
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 should be given to the workers on or before December 24. (PNA)