Department of Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said the deadline for the mandatory payment of the 13th month pay lapsed two weeks ago, but DOLE regional offices have been stepping up efforts to demand compliance with this general labor standard, a press release from the agency said.
This was prompted by numerous complaints received by the DOLE from workers all over the country, the press release said.
Baldoz said they received a lot of calls and complaints, so on December 30, she issued a directive to all our regional directors to report on the complaints about the non-payment of the 13th month pay.
In the National Capital Region where the bulk of the complaints were received, Baldoz said the DOLE-NCR had already issued special inspection authority to labor inspectors to verify some of the complaints. The regional office has also been applying mediation-conciliation to those cases where the complainants came personally to the DOLE-NCR office.
"Once the complaints are verified and found to be valid, the DOLE-NCR will issue compliance orders to these companies complained of for them to pay the 13th month pay, if its non-payment, or to complete payment if the complaint is under-payment,” Baldoz said. And because these are individual complaints, it will take a little time, at least a week more for the DOLE-NCR to finish the inspection," she said.
Baldoz emphasized, however, that all the complaints will undergo mandatory mediation-conciliation under the 30-day single entry approach to all labor cases, one of the DOLE's reform programs in labor adjudication.
She reiterated that it is the obligation of employers under the law, specifically Presidential Decree No. 851, to pay the 13th month benefit to all workers and employees, the press release said.*