Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III bared that the government might spend P5 billion to P13 billion if it will proceed in subsidizing the 13th month pay of workers in small firms affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
P13.7 billion is the exact estimate but the amount still depends on which data would be recognized since the DOLE and the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) have different lists of small firms, according to Bello.
The DOLE is yet to propose the plan to the Office of the President and the Office of the Executive Secretary, but already presented it to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID). Bello, however, didn’t disclose the task force’s decision.
If the subsidy will push, the DOLE chief said that small firms needing cash assistance must apply for it and prove that they are classified as micro- and small businesses that are distressed by the economic impact of the pandemic.
Another plan with regard to avoiding the deferment of the 13th month pay is for government banks to offer loans to companies.
The agency earlier announced that it was looking into allowing SMES to put off temporarily the disbursement of 13th month pay of employees, but netizens were quick to react negatively, citing that the pay is mandated by the law.