MANILA -- The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) reminded anew private employers to release workers’ 13th month pay on or before Dec. 24.

DOLE Undersecretary Dominador said employers must release the full 13th month pay on or before the said date as mandated by law.

"To employers, you will be violating the law if you don't give your employees their 13th month pay. Violations that may ultimately lead to closure order of your establishments," he said.

The DOLE official added, “"Comply with the law and let everyone have a very Merry Christmas!"

"Technically, that is also a violation. But it would (be) better than not being given at all," Say said.

"To employees, who won't get their 13th month pays, report to DOLE and we will help them file complaints against their employers," he added.

The 13th month pay, he said, is different from a Christmas bonus, which is not required by law.

"The bonus can be demanded only if it is a company policy or an obligation under the CBA. Outside those conditions, the employers are not obliged," Say explained.

The 13th month pay is a mandatory benefit provided to employees as provided by Presidential Decree No. 851, which states that employers should give 13th month pay to all its rank and file employees.

Employees should receive it not later than December 24 of each year, although an employer has the option to give to his employees half of the 13th month pay before the opening of the regular school year and the other half on or before the 24th day of December of every year. (PNA)