SENATOR VICENTE C. Sotto III’s proposal requiring private employers to give a 14th-month pay will be beneficial to the labor sector, according to Malacañang, but stressed that there should be exemptions to avoid the closure of companies that cannot afford it.

Matutuwa ‘yong mga empleyado…. Kaya lang ang problema doon baka naman iyong ‘di naman gaano kalaki ang income, corporate income, syempre magrereklamo ‘yon (Employees will be happy… But the problem is, for those that do not have a substantial corporate income, of course they will complain,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo told BusinessWorld in an interview on Tuesday last week.

He said provisions should be made as to who can avail of exemptions.

Mr. Sotto re-filed last Monday his Senate Bill No. 10, also known as An Act Requiring Employers in the Private Sector to Pay 14th Month Pay, ahead of the opening of the 18th Congress on July 22.

Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III said in a media interview last Tuesday that the bill requires further study in Congress, noting that the enforcement of this measure should be subject to the capability of an employer because many private companies are already having trouble covering the 13th-month pay.

The bill proposes that the 13th-month pay be released “not later than June 14th and the 14th-month pay shall be paid not later than December 24th of every year…”

“The 13th month pay is gobbled up by Christmas expenses. We need extra earnings in the middle of the year to help ordinary workers in school and medical expenses,” he said.

Mr. Sotto has also clarified that Senate Bill No. 10 contains “exemptions.” — Arjay L. Balinbin