LEGISLATORS filed a bill making business permit approval conditional on complying with the legal requirement to pay 13th month salaries.

ACT-CIS Party List representatives Jocelyn P. Tulfo, Eric G. Yap and Rowena Niña O. Taduran filed House Bill 6272 Wednesday, citing a need to improve 13th month pay compliance.

“In HB 6272 the Department of Labor regional offices are mandated to review the 13th month pay compliance report. If deficiencies are found, the applicant is given five business days to rectify. Non-payment of 13th month pay becomes cause for cancellation of the business permit,” Ms. Tulfo said in a statement Thursday.

Ms. Tulfo said that businesses that do not provide 13th month pay to their employees will have their permits cancelled.

Pinapaganda natin ang sistema. Kapag ‘di nagbabayad ng 13th month pay, kanselado ang business permit. May kopya ang DoLE ng compliance report kaya malalaman nila kung sino ang masunurin sa batas at sino ang hindi (We’re trying to improve the system. Non-payment of 13th month pay will mean cancellation of the business permit. DoLE will have a copy of the compliance report so we will know who is following the law and who is not),” Ms. Tulfo said, adding that “financially distressed” employers will be exempted from the rule.

The bill “codifies the necessary rules on the payment of 13th month pay and provides for a deterrent effect to those employers who willfully or negligently fail in their obligation to pay the mandatory benefit,” according to the bill’s explanatory note.

Those entitled to 13th month pay are all rank-and-file employees or domestic workers who have worked for at least one month during the calendar year.

The measure also provides that 13th month pay “not be credited as part of the regular wage of the employees for purposes of determining overtime and premium pay, fringe benefits, as well as premium contributions to the social security system, health insurance contribution, or any private welfare and retirement plans.” — Charmaine A. Tadalan