By Hannah Torregoza
A measure seeking to require private companies to grant 14th-month pay to workers has been refiled in the Senate.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III said increasing the wage benefits of employees in private companies is necessary considering the continued price increase of basic commodities in the country.
“The 13th – month pay is gobbled up by Christmas expenses. We need extra earnings in the middle of the year to help ordinary workers in school and medical expenses,” Sotto said in filing Senate Bill No. 10.
“Health and education needs of the ordinary Filipino must be assisted by our government,” the Senate chief said.
Sotto pointed out that the latest wage increase of P25 is too small compared to the daily expenses of ordinary workers.
The bill covers all non-government rank and file employees regardless of employment status, designation and irrespective of the method by which their wages are paid provided that they have worked at least one month during the calendar year.
Senate Bill No. 10 proposes that the 13th – month pay be paid not later than June 14, and the 14th- month pay be paid not later than December 24 of every year provided, however, that the frequency of payment of this monetary benefit may be the subject of agreement between employer and employee or any recognized/collective bargaining agent of employees.
The measure also proposes that the minimum amount of the 14th– month pay shall not be less than 1/12 of the total basic salary earned by the employee within the calendar year.
“Once passed into law, this will make the maxim attributed to President Ramon Magsaysay become a reality – that ‘those who have less in life should have more in law,’” Sotto said.
Sen. Joel Villanueva, chair of the Senate committee on labor, employment and human resources development, said he is open to hear the merits of the measure if he retains the chairmanship of the committee in the 18th Congress.
Villanueva said many companies expressed reservations on the proposed 14th – month pay law when the measure was deliberated upon during the 17th Congress.
“We want to hear all sides and we want to see clearly the merits of the bill. I want to hear straight from the horse’s mouth what their positions would be on this piece of legislation,” Villanueva told Senate reporters.
Villanueva said he expects to hear the measure since he doesn’t hear anybody interested at accepting the Senate committee on labor.
“So we’ll see. I hope and pray this time around we have another three years of a shot to tackle and deliberate this in such a way we can see if this would really help,” he added.