Public service announcement: You can tender your resignation before December AND still get your 13th month pay no problemo.
According to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)'s Handbook on Workers' Statutory Monterary Benefits, all employers are required to pay their rank-and-file employees 13th month pay—regardless of the nature of their employment. Even those who will get fired are extended such a privilege. The legal basis for such a mandate is Presidential Decree No. 851.
The Labor Code states that one is considered a rank-and-file employee if they don't fall under the definition of a managerial employee—or someone who can lay down and execute management policies, and/or hire, transfer, suspend, layoff, recall, discharge, assign, or discipline employees.
Managerial employees may receive 13th month pay depending on the employer.
The 13th month pay is equivalent to 1/12th of one's total basic salary earned during the calendar year.
Employees must have rendered services for at least a month to become entitled to a 13th month pay.
"Hindi mo man matapos ang taon, dapat may makuha ka pa rin," said Chel Diokno of the Free Legal Assistance Group in a Nov. 15 TikTok video reposted on Twitter.
Diokno cited as an example an employee who earns P20,000 monthly. If that employee works for three months, they will receive P5,000 as their 13th month pay.
The additional pay shall be given not later than Dec. 24, or a day before Christmas Day.
"Kung kayo ay nag-resign, dapat ibigay ang 13th month pay kasabay ng final pay," Diokno said, adding that it should happen within 30 days from the date of separation from employment.
"Pag-isipan mabuti ang gagawin. Sa totoo, kayo lang ang nakaaalam ng pinakatama para sa iyo," Diokno said.
DOLE has also reminded the public that the 13th month pay is not the same as Christmas bonus.
Christmas bonus, the agency noted on its website, is an optional, non-taxable benefit. The amount serves as a reward or incentive for achieving a goal and/or contributing to the success of the employer’s business.
"Christmas bonus is given out of the employer’s generosity and is not a demandable and enforceable obligation," DOLE said.
In fact, DOLE said the original term was company bonus, which may actually be given throughout the year. It's just that it's being typically handed out in the days leading to Christmas that it became popularly known as Christmas bonus.
One common practice, according to the department, is employers pay half of the "Christmas bonus" at the beginning of the school year. Academic Year 2022 to 2023 started in August.
"Though it seems harmless, mistaking one for the other could actually lead to confusion," DOLE said.