Issue of December 9, 2018
     
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Observe pay rules on Christmas holidays

Almost every Filipino will say that the holiday season begins in September, three months before Christmas. Once the “ber months” starts it will lead you up to Christmas. Starting September, TV and radio stations play commercials cueing that the Yuletide season has started, with some even starting a countdown to Christmas Day. There is something special about the Christmas celebrations, people from all walks of life look forward to it and start preparing various activities during the long break and for some, they spend the Christmas break out of town to relax and unwind, visit friends and relatives.

For workers and employees, some flock to their various provinces to celebrate the Christmas and others just continue to work to earn extra income for their families. To start off, workers need to remember that regular holidays are days that have fixed dates such as, Christmas Day (Dec. 25), Rizal Day (Dec. 30), and, New Year’s Day (Jan. 1).

Alternatively, special non-working holidays are more flexible and fall entirely under the prerogative of President Rodrigo Duterte. Dec. 8, Dec. 24 and Dec. 31 were declared special non-working days by Duterte so that it entails closer family ties and enable everyone to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s eve more meaningfully.

The Department of Labor and Employment reiterates its call to private sector employers to observe the pay rules and other core labor and occupational safety and health standards during the holidays in the interest of workers’ welfare and protection.

Labor Sec. Silvestre H. Bello III has issued Labor Advisory 19 s. 2018 pursuant to Republic Act 10966 and Proclamation 269 issued by Duterte, affirming special non-working days on Dec. 8, 24, and 31 and the regular holidays on Dec. 25 and 30.

For the information of employers and workers, the payment rules for the regular holidays on Dec. 25 (Christmas Day) and Dec. 30 (Rizal Day) are as follows: For these holidays, [(if the employee did not work, he/she shall be paid 100 percent of his/her wage for that day)]; for work done during these days he/she shall be paid 200 percent of an employee’s regular pay for the first eight hours or [(daily rate + COLA) x 200 percent]; while work done in excess of eight hours (overtime), shall be paid an additional 30 percent of the employee’s hourly rate or [(hourly rate of the basic daily wage x 200 percent x 130 percent x number of hours worked)].

Meanwhile, work done during these days that also falls on employee’s rest day shall be paid an additional 30 percent of his/her daily rate of 200 percent or [(daily rate + COLA) x 200 percent] + [30 percent (daily rate x 200 percent)]; while for work done in excess of eight hours (overtime), shall be paid an additional 30 percent of his/her hourly rate, or [(hourly rate of the basic daily wage x 200 percent x 130 percent x 130 percent x number of hours worked)].

However, if the employee did not report to work during these days, he/she shall still be paid 100 percent of his/her salary for that day or [(daily rate + COLA) x 100 percent].

The special (non-working days), on the other hand on Dec. 8 (Feast of the Immaculate Conception), Dec. 24 and Dec. 31: the pay rules for this holiday provide that for work done, an employee shall be paid an additional 30 percent of his daily rate on the first eight hours or [(daily rate x 130 percent) + COLA]; while for work done in excess of eight hours (overtime), he/she shall be paid an additional 30 percent of his hourly rate or [(hourly rate of the basic daily wage x 130 percent x 130 percent x number of hours worked)].

For work done during this day that also fall on employee’s rest day, he/she shall be paid an additional 50 percent of his/her daily rate on the first eight hours, or [(daily rate x 150 percent) + COLA]; while for work done in excess of eight hours (overtime), he/she shall be paid an additional 30 percent of his hourly rate, or [(hourly rate of the basic daily wage x 150 percent x 130 percent x number of hours worked)].

But if the employee did not work, the “No work, no pay” principle shall apply unless there is a favorable company policy, practice or collective bargaining agreement granting payment on special non-working day.

Christmas season is always the number one favorite time of year for salaried employees. Apart from the long vacations, one thing creeping up our consciousness is a big fat paycheck comprised of Christmas bonus and 13th month pay we’ll be receiving – a reward for your year’s worth of blood, sweat, and tears. But what comprises this year-end reward? Are we all entitled to a 13th month pay and Christmas bonus? Are they the same?

The 13th month pay is required by law (Presidential Decree 851). It says that: All rank and file employees, regardless of their employment status, and who have worked for at least one month in the company are entitled to receive a 13th month pay. It is essentially a form of monetary assistance in preparation for the Christmas season. To compute this is you take your monthly basic salary, divided by 12 (months in a year), times the number of months within a year you have rendered your service.

For example your salary is P20,000 monthly pay/12 x 8 months employed or [basic monthly pay/12 x number of months actually worked].

On the other hand, a Christmas bonus is a gift or reward voluntarily given by an employer as an expression of gratitude for all the hard work an employee has done, and not because it’s an obligation that comes from a law or contract.

To recap: The 13th month pay is mandatory; while the Christmas bonus is substantially an act of kindness and generosity from the employer. You cannot demand for a bonus since it’s only given freely, unless it has already become a long-standing tradition in the company, then yes, you may demand for it. If an employer withdraws from giving bonuses after years of practicing it, let’s just say it’s considered a wrongful act under the Labor Code and may draw in some sanctions for the company.

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