by Mayen Jaymalin – The Philippine Star, 22 Oct 2021
MANILA, Philippines — Around 1,300 establishments failed to provide their employees with the mandated 13th-month pay, according to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
Labor Undersecretary Ana Dione said the department would issue a compliance order to compel these establishments to grant 13th-month pay to their employees.
“We are now processing the compliance order because non-payment of 13th month is a violation of the law. We are going to exert a little force for the employers to extend 13th-month pay to their employees,” Dione said during the Laging Handa public briefing yesterday.
She said most of the companies or 90.21 percent of the establishments inspected last year were able to comply with the requirement of paying 13th month to workers.
Data showed that more than 14,000 establishments were found compliant with the 13th-month pay upon inspection while another 16,000 firms voluntarily reported their compliance.
Dione said the 13th-month pay is a mandated obligation of all employers, and only private establishments are covered by the law.
Even workers who have resigned are entitled to 13th-month pay.
The DOLE has issued an advisory clarifying there is no exemption and deferment in the payment of 13th month.
The government, Dione said, is extending loans to enable employers to comply with the 13th-month pay law.
Tight labor market and remote working conditions drive employers in the Philippines to rethink their benefit strategy for employees, a survey conducted by a global risk management, insurance brokerage and advisory company showed.
The Willis Towers Watson (WTW)’s “2021 Benefits Trends Survey” showed seven in 10 employers in the Philippines plan to revamp or customize their benefit programs over the next two years.
It said 80 percent of these companies are planning to integrate employees’ well-being into the benefit package.
The survey conducted from May and June 2021 covered 154 local employers representing 646,000 employees.
“Amid the ongoing pandemic, employers are under increasing pressure to manage their benefit costs while at the same time finding new ways to support their employees’ overall well-being,” said Susan La Chica, health and benefits head of WTW Philippines.
“Additionally, tight labor markets and the pivot to remote working or a hybrid work model, and a growing emphasis on diversity and inclusion are causing employers to look at their benefit strategies in a new light. As a result, many are now planning actions to enhance their benefit programs to create a competitive advantage,” La Chica said.
More than half or 67 percent of those surveyed cited tight labor markets as primary factor in revamping their benefit strategy, 57 percent cited the increased remote working setup, 56 percent cited advances in technology, and another 56 percent cited the increased focus on inclusion and diversity.
The survey showed that only 50 percent of the employers believe that their current benefit programs address the individual needs of their workforce, while only 32 percent believe they currently offer significant flexibility and choice in benefits.
Of those surveyed, 80 percsent said that integrating employees’ well-being into the benefit package will be their top strategic objective over the next two years.
Specifically, 86 percent of those surveyed cited the employees’ emotional well-being as their top priority over the next two years, followed by physical well-being, 76 percent and social well-being 73 percent.
“Employees’ stress, burnout and mental health issues exacerbated by the pandemic continue to be the main workforce concern of employers. Fostering employee well-being and resilience, therefore remain a top employer priority for the foreseeable future,” Demosthenes Villarin Jr. WTW Philippines medical director and head of business development, said.
“This is clearly shown in our study as more than half or 60 percent of the organizations indicated that they plan to add or enhance their health care benefits as well as offer flexibility and choice in their benefits programs throughout the next two years,” Villarin added.
The WTW survey also showed that most employers are considering the use of technology to address health and wellness concerns of their employees.
These include the use of online or virtual medical services as well as well-being apps.
Two-thirds of respondents are considering adopting a digital hub that houses all their benefits.
More than one-third or 41 percent are planning to use digital tools and technology to help employees feel connected and be productive, while 48 percent are planning or considering the use of personalized communication to specific segments of the workforce.
More than half or 54 percent of the survey respondents are considering training their managers in identifying and assisting employees with their well-being.
The survey revealed that 46 percent of employers in the Philippines believe that their benefit programs enhance employee appreciation of the employment deal.