Gov’t workers set to get Christmas bonus this month

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    THE more than 1.5 million government workers are expected to receive their Christmas bonus this month, under Republic Act No. 11466 or the Salary Standardization Law 5, Anakalusugan party-list Rep. Mike Defensor yesterday said.

    Defensor cited Section 8 of the law which provides that the year-end bonus equivalent to one-month salary, plus a P5,000 cash gift, “shall be given in November of every year.”

    “I am assuming that the budget secretary has released the funds needed for the payment of the government workers’ Christmas bonus and P5,000 cash gift,” Defensor said, pointing out that the mandate of the law is restated in National Budget Circular No. 579, which Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado issued last January.

    If the funds are already available, the lawmaker said agencies could begin giving the bonus on November 15 “and since this week’s payday falls on Sunday, the bonus could be advanced as early as Thursday for personnel on a four-day workweek, or Friday for those on the usual five-day work schedule or on Monday.”

    Defensor, who chairs the House committee on public accounts, noted that last year, most agencies released the Christmas bonus in mid-November.

    He advised government employees to do their shopping after receiving their year-end incentives to avoid the usual Christmas rush and traffic jams next month.

    Defensor also urged private sector employers to release the 13th-month pay or yearend bonus of their employees early as a “gesture of compassion” amid the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic which has adversely affected the economy with many people losing their jobs.

    “That will surely ease the financial burden our workers and our people have to face every day because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic difficulties. Many of them are forced to resort to borrowing money just to make both ends meet,” he said.

    RA No. 11466, signed by President Duterte on Jan. 8 this year, contains the newest four-year salary upgrading program in the bureaucracy and the DBM’s Circular 579 implements the program.

    Under the law, the lowest-paid worker gets an adjusted monthly salary of P11,551 up to P12,244, depending on length of service, this year. The pay increases to P13,00-P13,780 on the fourth year (2023).