Sen. Tito Sotto passes the 14-month pay bill to the Senate.| Photo courtesy of Filamnation.com
By Christine Fel Viernes

Enrique Aguillon, who works as a collector in Unilever, has been receiving his 13th-month pay every 15th of December since his promotion five years ago. Although he’d been getting his extra pay, it is still hard to budget expenses especially now that he has two children going to college and one who’s in high school.

When he learned of the bill filed in the Senate by Senator Vicente Sotto III, he expressed hope in its passage because the 10 pesos wage increase is not enough.

“Kahit sino naman positive ang iniisip. Malaking tulong yun lalo na sa katulad naming kapos pa. Maganda yung layunin,” he said.

The Senate Bill No. 1645,  if passed will be named 14th Month Pay Law, will cover all “government and non-government rank and file employees regardless of their employment status, designation and irrespective of the method by which their wages are paid provided that they have worked at least one month during the calendar year”.

Rank and file employees, as defined in the bill, are those skilled-laborers like janitors, factory workers, drivers and security guards, excluding professionals. Hence, these are the people who usually have minimum wage salary.

In the bill, the 13th-month pay will be given not later than on the 14th of June of every year, while the 14th-month pay, which is also equivalent to the amount of 13th-month salary, will be paid not later than on the 24th of December of every year.

The only problem with this bill, if it will be enacted, will be the workers under private companies, said Trinidad Marcelo who works at Land Transportation Office.

“Gusto namin yun, kasi aside from 13th month, may 14th month pa. Okay samen. Additional bonus din yan. Pero sa mga private companies, depende pa sa employer kasi hindi katulad sa gobyerno na may pondo na. Sa kanila depende pa sa kita ng company,” she said.

Based on the bill filed by Sotto, the need to have a 14th-month pay for government and non-government rank and file employees is because the “13th month pay is gobbled up by Christmas expenses. We need extra earnings in the middle of the year to help in school and medical expenses. Health and education needs of the ordinary Filipino must be assisted by our government”.

“Makakatulong kung makakatulong,” said Felipe Hernandez Jr., a company driver at Stanplas Corporation. “Mas maganda kung maaprubahan.”

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