The bill aiming to give 14th month pay to workers from the private sector is getting mixed reactions at the moment. Workers from the private sector are anticipating the passing of the bill while employers are trying to discourage the lawmakers in pushing it. SB 10 is Senator Vicente Sotto III’s pet bill which he was trying to push since the 16th Congress and was still pending when the 17th Congress ended. On July 3, 2019, the Senate President defended this bill as it has been criticized especially by employers that will be directly affected by the proposal.
Sotto has urged the critics of the bill to read it first before complaining. The bill only intends to expand PD 851 which mandates the 13th month pay. Under this bill, distressed employers are exempted from giving employees 13th month pay. Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr., President of the Employers’ Confederation of the Philippines said that once this bill takes effect, there will be decreasing salaries of workers, increase in the prices of services and goods, and worst, lay off of employees.
The PSA (Philippine Statistics Authority) had said that out of the 924K businesses in the country, 99.5% of which are small & medium enterprises, and micro-businesses. Luis said that the SMEs will be greatly affected under the proposed law as SB 10 will require the private sector to give the rank and file employees 14th month pay or at least half of the basic salary. This will not include the other cash benefits that they are already receiving. If the bill will pass in the 18th Congress, the 13th month pay should be given not later than the 14th of June of every year. The 14th month pay, on the other hand, should be given not later than the 24th of December every year.