13th Month Pay in the Philippines

The 13th Month Pay Law

Presidential Decree No. 851 issued on December 16, 1975 requires all employers to pay their employees a 13th month wage.

What is 13th month pay?

All employers are required to pay their rank-and-file employees thirteenth-month pay, regardless of the nature of their employment and irrespective of the methods by which their wages are paid, provided they worked for at least one (1) month during a calendar year. The thirteenth-month pay should be given to the employees not later than December 24 of every year.

13th month pay is not a discretionary bonus, it is mandated by law.

Definition of Rank-and-File Employees

The Labor Code, as amended, distinguishes a rank-and-file employee from a managerial employee. A managerial employee is one who is vested with powers or prerogatives to lay down and execute management policies and/or to hire, transfer, suspend, layoff, recall, discharge, assign, or discipline employees, or to effectively recommend such managerial actions. All employees not falling within this definition are considered rank-and-file employees.

The above shall be used as a guide for the purpose of determining who are rank-and-file employees entitled to the thirteenth-month pay. Managerial employees are exempt

Minimum Amount

The thirteenth-month pay shall not be less than one-twelfth (1/12) of the total basic salary earned by an employee in a calendar year.

The “basic salary” of an employee for the purpose of computing the thirteenth-month pay shall include all remunerations or earnings paid by his or her employer for services rendered. It does not include allowances and monetary benefits which are not considered or integrated as part of the regular or basic salary, such as the cash equivalent of unused vacation and sick leave credits, overtime, premium, night shift differential and holiday pay, and cost of living allowance (COLA). However, these salary-related benefits should be included as part of the basic salary in the computation of the thirteenth-month pay if these are treated as part of the basic salary of the employees, through individual or collective agreement, company practice or policy.

There is a Supreme Court decision that “commissions” do not form part of the “basic salary” and therefore are not included in computing the thirteenth-month pay.

The following employers are not covered by PD 851:

1. The government and any of its political subdivisions, including government-owned and controlled corporations, except those corporations operating essentially as private subsidiaries of the government;

2. Employers who are already paying their employees thirteenth- month pay or more in a calendar year or its equivalent at the time of the issuance of PD 851;

3. Persons in the personal service of another in relation to such workers; and

4. Employers of those who are paid on purely commission, boundary or task basis, and those who are paid a fixed amount for performing specific work, irrespective of the time consumed in the performance thereof (except those workers who are paid on piece-rate basis, in which case their employer shall grant them thirteenth-month pay).

As used herein, “workers paid on piece-rate basis” shall refer to those who are paid a standard amount for every piece or unit of work produced that is more or less regularly replicated, without regard to the time spent in producing the same.

The term “its equivalent” as used  above shall include Christmas bonus, midyear bonus, cash bonuses, and other payments amounting to not less than one-twelfth (1/12) of the basic salary but shall not include cash and stock dividends, cost of living allowance, and all other allowances regularly enjoyed by the employee, as well as non-monetary benefits.

When is Thirteenth Month Pay Given to Employees

The thirteenth-month pay shall be paid not later than December 24 of every year. An employer, however, may give to his or her employees one-half (1/2) of the thirteenth-month pay before the opening of the regular school year and the remaining half on or before December 24 of every year. The frequency of payment of this monetary benefit may be the subject of an agreement between the employer and the recognized/collective bargaining agent of the employees.

Thirteenth-Month Pay of Resigned or Separated Employee

An employee who has resigned or whose services are terminated at any time before the time of payment of the thirteenth-month pay is entitled to this monetary benefit in proportion to the length of time he or she has worked during the year, reckoned from the time he or she has started working during the calendar year up to the time of his or her resignation or termination from the service. Thus, if he or she worked only from January to September, his or her proportionate thirteenth-month pay should be equal to one-twelfth (1/12) of his or her total basic salary earned during that period.

Thirteenth-Month Pay of Female Employee who is on Maternity Leave

The salary differential shall be included as part of the basic salary for purposes of computation of the 13th month pay of the rank-and-file employee.

Non-inclusion in Regular Wage

The thirteenth-month pay is not part of the regular wage of employees for purposes of determining overtime and premium payments, fringe benefits, contributions to the State Insurance Fund, Social Security System, National Health Insurance Program, and private retirement plans.

Computation of Thirteenth-Month Pay

n this example, Mr. Joe, an employee of ABC Company, receives a monthly basic salary of P14,000.00. His earnings for the current year are as follows:

Januaryno absence₱14,000
February1 day leave w/ pay₱14,000
Marchno absence₱14,000
Aprilon leave w/o pay₱0.00
Mayno absence₱14,000
Juneno absence₱14,000
Julyno absence₱14,000
August5 days leave w/ pay₱14,000
Septemberno absence₱14,000
Octoberno absence₱14,000
Novemberno absence₱14,000
Decemberno absence₱14,000
Total Basic Salary Earned During the Year₱154,000

Mr. Joe’s 13th Month Pay is computed as:

₱154,000.00
—————— = ₱12,833.33 is the value of the 13th Month Pay benefit to be received by Mr Joe.
12 months