Up to ₱13.7 billion needed for 13th month pay subsidy — DOLE

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 16) — The Labor Department may be needing around ₱5 billion to ₱13.7 billion to subsidize the 13th month pay of employees from micro and small enterprises, the Labor chief said.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said Friday that there are 1.5 million workers who are impacted by the coronavirus pandemic according to the data of DOLE, while there are about 5.1 million affected workers according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

The estimated amount needed for the assistance was based from these figures, the secretary said.

Bello, however, clarified in the virtual presser that giving a subsidy is yet to be approved by President Rodrigo Duterte and the Department of Finance.

He also noted that medium enterprises will not likely qualify for the cash aid once it pushes through.

On Friday, DOLE released its guidelines on the payment of the 13th month pay, saying it will not accept any request for exemption or deferment.

The agency earlier told employers to give workers their 13th month pay no later than December 24 this year.

Last week, Bello was criticized by labor and other groups after saying his department would study which companies could be exempted from giving 13th month pay to their employees.

This is after he said that the implementing rules and regulations of PD 851 include an exemption in the case of establishments considered distressed.