MANILA – Micro and small enterprises that are having difficulty in giving the 13th-month pay of their employees can apply for a government loan, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III said in a statement on Sunday.
The Labor chief made the call as he reminded employers that the grant of 13th-month pay is mandated by law. He, however, assured establishments that are still struggling amid the reopening of the economy of the government's support through the Small Business Corporation (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. So, with this loan facility from SB Corporation, there is no more reason to not give the 13th-month pay,” Bello said during the ceremonial launch of the loan program with the Department of Trade and Industry and its financing arm, SBCorp on Friday.
As of Nov. 12, a total of 25 loan applications amounting to PHP5.052 million were already approved by SBCorp.
Qualified borrowers are the owners of micro and small enterprises that have implemented flexible work arrangements and registered under the DOLE Establishment Reporting System as of Oct. 15, 2021.
The loan program can cover up to 40 employees per establishment and the loanable amount is at PHP12,000 per current employee.
It is a zero-interest rate, no collateral loan that is payable in 12 months, inclusive of the three-month grace period.
“I encourage our employers, especially yung mga nahihirapan pa (hard up firms), 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,” Bello said.
Interested micro and small enterprise owners may apply at www.bayanihancares.ph. (PR)