All private sector employers must give the 13th-month pay of their employees on or before December 24, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said on Friday.

“Rank-and-file employees in the private sector shall be entitled to 13th-month pay regardless of their position, designation, or employment status, and irrespective of the method by which their wages are paid, provided that they have workers for at least one month during the calendar year,” Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said in Labor Advisory No. 28 providing for the guidelines on the grant of the mandatory benefit.

It added that the minimum 13th-month pay required by law “shall not be less than one-twelfth (1/12) of the total basic salary earned by an employee within a calendar year”.

“This minimum amount shall be provided without prejudice to existing company practice and policy, employment contract or collective bargaining agreement if any,” he added.

Bello said they will not accept application for exemption or deferment of the payment.

“No request or application for exemption from payment of 13th month pay, or for deferment of the payment thereof shall be accepted and allowed,” he said.

At the same time, the DOLE required employers to submit compliance report to the nearest Regional Office not later than January 15 of the following year.

The report shall contain the following: Name of establishment, address, principal product of business, total employment, total number of workers benefitted, amount granted per employee, total amount of benefits granted and name, position, and telephone number of person giving information.

The 13th-month pay is a mandatory benefit for private sector workers under Presidential Decree 851. (PNA)