Maligayang Pasko or Merry Christmas is something anyone in the Philippines would hear as early as September. From various Christmas decorations, flickering parols or lanterns shaped as stars made of paper and wood, brightly colored plastic sheets, or shells called capiz, these can stay from the start of the “Ber” months to late January. Moreover, decorations are only but the beginning of a month-long celebration. There are Aguinaldos [gifts] given to the immediate down to extended family, Noche Buena [Filipino Christmas Eve feast], and other traditions.
During these times of preparation, a lot of budgeting is done to list all upcoming expenses that are why family members who work grind hard to possibly give the best Christmas to their loved ones. But they won’t have to work that hard because there are some laws present in the country, and company benefits that help domestic laborers prepare for the yuletide season.
13th Month Pay
The 13th Month Pay Law is probably one of the most well-known pieces of Christmas legislation present in the country. Here, the law specifically states that “the Christmas season is an opportune time for society to show its concern for the plight of the working masses so they may properly celebrate Christmas and New Year.” Moreover, being a law, it has been mandatory that covered employers should provide eligible employees with 13th-month pay. It is normally given weeks before Christmas day.
Though it is called the 13th-month pay, the amount one will receive for the 13th month is not the same as the basic salary. To have an idea on much an employee can receive, multiply the basic salary by the number of months he or she worked. Then, divide the product by twelve (12). The computed amount will be the 13th month’s pay.
That is why even though 13 is widely known as bad luck, you cannot change a Filipino worker’s mind when it comes to receiving his/her 13th month’s pay.
Aside from the 13th month’s pay, employees can enjoy a Christmas bonus from their employers. But oftentimes, people get confused about the difference between the two. The main difference between the 13th-month pay to the Christmas bonus is that the former is mandatory and taxable, while the latter is a voluntary obligation and non-taxable.
With that being said, employers have a choice to either provide their employees with cash or presents, depending on the organization’s terms and conditions.
Additionally, some laws help regulate bonuses such as Republic Act 6971 or “The Productivity Incentive Bonus” and the Republic Act 6982 or the “Social Amelioration Program Cash bonus for the Sugar Industry employees.”
Noche Buena Packages
Regular Holiday Wage for December 25 and 30
The holidays for December 25 and 30 are paid differently. When an employee chooses not to work during these times, they will still receive 100% of their daily wage rate provided that be present or on leave with pay on the last workday before said regular holidays.
Now for those who choose to work, they should be paid a total of 200% of their basic wage. Also, if an employee renders overtime work during these times or any regular holiday, they must be paid an additional 30% of their basic wage of 200%.
Annual Christmas Party
Christmas parties in the office or any workplace are easily the main events of the holiday season. For some in western countries, they celebrate it through food, games, and the opening of gifts. But here in the Philippines, they take it to another level.
In the country, Christmas parties are mostly celebrated in hotels and event places with large buffets. But that is not the best bit because weeks or days before the party, you will get to see employees busy practicing their performances for the annual Christmas party. There, a lot of talented professionals will showcase dance and song numbers.
After all the performances, the employees and employers would get to have an exchange of gifts. It is probably one of the most special segments in a party. But, if you are on a tight budget, there is this thing called Monito-Monita where people can buy gifts that do not have to be expensive, as long as it is aligned with the theme of the present.
Do you think that the festivities of Christmas in a workplace end with a party and exchanging of gifts? Not, (well, not for Filipinos). After the party comes the last part of the holiday affair – the raffle.
Here, you will get to witness how generous some employers are. The prizes range from cash incentives, Noche Buena packages, to appliances and even vehicles. Imagine coming back next year to work with the motorcycle you have won from the Christmas raffle, or telling your co-workers how was the experience with the 55-inch flat-screen television.
Indeed, Christmas has become a tradition and one of the most important occasions for every Filipino family and workplace. Thus, it has become somewhat a yearly obligation for one to spread the joys of Christmas to another, most especially to the Filipino laborers and employees who work hard just to celebrate this special holiday with their families.