Labor groups hail filing of bill for 14th month pay for private, state workers

Labor groups on Wednesday welcomed the filing of a bill pushing for the grant of 14th- month pay for government and private employees.

Stressing that many Filipino families struggle to sufficiently provide for their families because of their meager salaries, Kabayan Party-list Rep. Ron Salo filed House Bill No. 520 seeking to grant a 14th-month pay to employees in the public and private sector regardless of their employment status.

Under the bill, the 13th-month pay will be paid on or before May 31 of each year ahead of the school enrollment of the employees’ dependents, while the 14th-month pay shall be given to employees on or before November 30 in time for the Christmas season celebrations.

The Partido Manggagawa (PM) said the proposed 14th-month pay would help low-income workers cope with inflation, which has already hit a near four-year-high of 6.1 percent in June. Year-to-date inflation is already at 4.4 percent, beyond the government’s target band of 2 to 4 percent.

“The filing of such bill is most welcome and the passage of which into law is a form of economic relief, especially to low income workers in the country amid continuing rise of prices of basic commodities and services,” PM National Chairman Rene Magtubo said in a news statement.

Meanwhile, the Federation of Free Workers (FFW) said this will help augment the income of majority and unorganized workers, pointing out that most workers with unions and covered by collective bargaining agreements already have the 14th- month pay or more.

“We urge government to enact this proposal into law as well as the P100-billion stimulus package to help SMEs [small and medium enterprises] increase their capitalization, recover and cope up with the payment of wages and benefits of workers, while still, or after onslaught, of the Covid-19 pandemic,” FFW President Sonny Matula said.

For his part, Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (Sentro) Secretary General Joshua T. Mata said the proposed bill is a “step in the right direction towards ensuring that workers could enjoy the fruits of their labor,” despite noting that the government “has yet to fix the flawed minimum wage setting mechanism to ensure just wages.”

To recall, similar bills were filed in the previous Congress but these did not hurdle the legislative mill.