As Christmas Day nears, Senator Idol Raffy Tulfo urged the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to enter into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Local Government Units (LGUs) to require all employers to release the 13th month payment of their employees on or before Dec. 24, 2022, otherwise risk the non-renewal of their business permits.
During the joint hearing of the Senate Committee on Labor and Employment and Human Resources Development on Oct. 4, Tulfo said DOLE should sign a MOA with the Business Permits and Licensing Office (BPLO) to block the renewal of business permits of non-compliant and non-paying employers.
“Magpa-Pasko na po. This is the time of the year kung saan inaasam ng ating mga manggagawa na makatanggap po sana sila ng kanilang 13th month pay. Ang nangyayari po kasi kadalasan ay hindi naibibigay ito sa kanila dahil ginugulangan at dinudugasan sila ng kanilang mga employers,” he said.
Under the law, employees must receive their 13th month pay on or before December 24 of each year. Yet despite a law in place, he said many Filipino employers are not paying their workers the said government-mandated compensation.
Tulfo, a veteran broadcaster and public servant who hosts “Wanted sa Radyo,” said he already handled several complaints from aggrieved Filipino workers who did not receive their 13th month pay.
In the MOA, Tulfo said it should be highlighted that companies renewing their business permits should first present evidence to BPLO that they have already given their employees’ 13th month pay and that it was released on time.
The Vice Chairperson of the Committee on Labor and Employment told DOLE Asec. Leonard Constantine-Serrano that merely issuing advisories requiring employers to release their employees’ 13th month pay will not work after the latter made such suggestion.
“Hangga’t hindi po sila nasasaktan, balewala po ‘yang advisory na yan dahil kahit nga may batas na tungkol sa 13th month pay ay sinusuway pa din ito ng mga employers. Kailangan po makatikim sila ng consequence para sila po ay umaksyon,” he said.
To alert employers about this MOA, Tulfo suggested that DOLE should issue an official statement before the media warning erring employers of the possible non-renewal of their business permits should they fail to comply with the Department’s order.