MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has announced that micro and small enterprises that are having difficulty in financing the 13th-month pay of their employees can apply for a government loan.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III made the call on Friday during the ceremonial launch of the loan program with the Department of Trade and Industry and its financing arm, the Small Business Corporation (SBCorp), reminding employers that the grant of 13th-month pay is mandatory.
The labor chief, however, assured establishments that are still struggling amid the re-opening of the economy of the government’s support through SBCorp.
“Let me remind the employers that the grant of 13th-month pay is mandatory. We issued a Labor Advisory where we maintained that no exemption and no deferment will be allowed on the payment of the 13th-month pay,” Bello said.
“So, with this loan facility from SB Corporation, there is no more reason to not give the 13th-month pay,” he added.
As of November 12, a total of 25 loan applications amounting to P5.052 million were already approved by SBCorp.
DOLE said qualified borrowers are the micro and small enterprises that have implemented flexible work arrangements and registered under the agency’s Establishment Reporting System as of October 15, 2021.
The zero-interest rate, no collateral loan program can cover up to 40 employees per establishment.
The loanable amount is at P12,000 per current employee which is payable in 12 months, inclusive of the three-month grace period.
“I encourage our employers, especially yung mga nahihirapan pa, to avail of this facility so that they can comply with the mandate to pay our workers with what is due them, especially this Christmas season,” said Bello.
The labor chief invites interested micro and small enterprises to apply at www.bayanihancares.ph. —/mbmf