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On Paid Holidays, Sick & Vacation Leaves, and 13th Month Pay

April 21, 2017 Claire Ponsaran 52 comments
On Paid Holidays, Sick & Vacation Leaves, and 13th Month Pay

Are you planning to outsource to the Philippines? Get to know what the country’s labor laws say about paid holidays and sick and vacation leaves. Learn what the 13th-month pay is all about. Your understanding will ensure a smooth sailing working relationship with your Filipino outsourcing staff. Many of these holidays and leaves are particular only to the Philippines.

Regular and Special Non-Working Holidays in the Philippines

Asia, it seems, has more festivals and feasts for its saints and heroes than countries in Europe and America. The Philippines, according to this infographic, has around 18 public holidays following India, which has the highest number of holidays.

countries with the most number of public holidays

In the last quarter of each year, the Philippine government would issue an annual list of regular and special non-working holidays for the following year. The number of special non-working days will depend on the president’s choices.

Sometimes, the president would choose to declare the closest working day as a holiday when the official date falls on a weekend. This often extends the weekend to 3 days. In other cases, holidays and special non-working days are declared for specific provinces or regions only. For example, only Iloilo and other provinces in Panay commemorate the Liberation of Panay on March 18 each year. In 1989, President Corazon Aquino declared this day as a special holiday for the residents of this region.

If you wanted to know what the holiday list would be for next year, visit the Official Gazette of the Philippine government, later this year. Here’s the list of regular holidays and special non-working days for 2019.

A. Regular Holidays

January 1, 2019, Tuesday – New Year’s Day
April 9, 2019, Tuesday – Araw ng Kagitingan
April 18, 2019 – Maundy Thursday
April 19, 2019 – Good Friday
May 1, 2019, Wednesday – Labor Day in the Philippines
June 12, 2019, Wednesday – Philippine Independence Day
August 26, 2019, last Monday of August – National Heroes Day
November 30, 2019, Saturday – Bonifacio Day
December 25, 2019, Wednesday – Christmas Day
December 30, 2019, Monday – Rizal Day

B. Special (Non-Working) Days

February 5, 2019, Tuesday – Chinese New Year
February 25, 2019, Monday – EDSA People Power Revolution Anniversary
April 20, 2019 – Black Saturday
August 21, 2019, Wednesday – Ninoy Aquino Day
November 1, 2019, Friday – All Saints’ Day
December 8, 2019, Sunday – Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary
December 31, 2019, Tuesday – last day of the year

C. Additional Special Non-Working Holidays

November 2, 2019, Saturday – All Souls’ Day (by way of Proclamation No. 555, s. 2018)
December 24, 2019, Tuesday – Christmas Eve (by way of Proclamation No. 555, s. 2018)

How are Paid Holidays Computed?

Regular holidays have a slightly different computation from special non-working days. For starters, if your team did not work on a regular holiday, they would still get paid their daily rate plus allowances. But, when they missed work on a special non-working day, they would get nothing unless they have an agreement with the company that says otherwise.

Holiday Pay Matrix published by www.gov.ph

Different Types of Paid and Unpaid Leaves

In the Philippines, employers are legally mandated to provide at least 5 days of service incentive leave (SIL) with pay. It’s not specifically vacation leave. But, if a company already provides vacation leave with pay whether it’s 5 days or 15 days, the company doesn’t have to provide an additional 5-day service incentive leave. Businesses have the freedom to decide how many days they would give to their employees as sick and vacation leaves, provided they ensure each worker has at least 5 days of paid SIL.

In addition to sick and vacation leaves, employees will also soon enjoy 120 days of maternity leave and 7 days of paternity leave. For single parents, they are now eligible to have 7 days of parental leave to take care of their children. Single parents must present their Solo Parent Identification Card or documentation from DSWD to their HR Manager.

Other organizations provide 6 months of rehabilitation or study leave. Rehabilitation leave is for employees who would need a long period of recovery after sustaining an injury while on duty. And, a study leave is for employees who would need time to review for a bar or board exam. This is also filed by an employee who needs to take a sabbatical for their Master’s degree or Ph.D.

Other types of leaves available for women in the Philippines include a leave for victims of violence against women and their children. Female employees who were victims of violence as defined by Republic Act No. 9262 may file for 10 days of paid leave.  Women also receive Special Leave Benefits equal to 2 months of paid leave. This is for women following a surgery caused by gynecological disorders as stipulated in the Magna Carta for Women.

Converting Leave Credits to Cash

Here’s another thing you need to know: 5 days of unused service incentive leave can be converted into cash. When your agents are not able to use up their leaves by the end of the year, they may choose to convert 5 days of service incentive leave into cash equivalent to their daily rate multiplied by five, or carry it forward. If the employee chooses to commute his or her leave credits, then that person accumulates 10 days of SIL in the following year.

What is 13th Month Pay?

Perhaps, the Philippines is the only country that has a legally mandated end-of-year bonus known as 13th Month Pay. In December, all employees receive this extra pay, which is equivalent to 1/12 of the employee’s total earnings for that year. It doesn’t matter if an employee only worked for one month for the company. That employee will still receive one-twelfth of the total salary paid to him or her.

Why You Shouldn’t Worry About Paying Extra

It’s worthwhile for you to learn about the types of paid and unpaid leaves that your Filipino staff may file at any time. Some businesses that outsource to the Philippines choose to pay these leaves in appreciation for the hard work shown by their staff.

But, you don’t have to worry about these things. When you partner with an outsourcing provider, an accountant can take care of the payroll and other financial reports.

All expenses related to hiring staff from the Philippines are accounted for by outsourcing companies. That’s why reputable service providers often quote higher-than-average rates. A mid-level pricing range is much more sustainable than cheap or unbelievably low rates.

NOTE: This article was updated on January 30, 2019.

52 Comments on “On Paid Holidays, Sick & Vacation Leaves, and 13th Month Pay

  1. I am hiring staff in the Philippines and seeking a company (outsourcing partner?) to handle the payroll, filing of taxes and other legalities. Would you have any recommendations on who I can contact?

      1. Hi Ms Claire, How about for personal driver or family driver/maid?

        Also from what i know personal household help and drivers were not entitled to all public holidays. It is employers discretion as to whether employee works or not? And not entitled to extra pay on those days.

        1. You are right, Bryan. Employers of family drivers and household helpers don’t have to pay them holiday pay. If the helper’s rest day falls on a holiday, then there’s no need for the employer to require their helper to work. Otherwise, the employer will likely expect the maid or driver to work even when it’s a holiday. The nature of their job requires them to provide assistance or help to their employer whenever required.

    1. Ana Marie, a quick search on Google revealed the following:
      The basic salary of workers is the basis for the computation of the 13th-month pay, which means one-twelfth (1/12) of the basic salary of an employee within the calendar year.
      The thirteenth-month pay may not include the following, namely: cost-of-living allowances (COLA); profit-sharing payments; overtime pay; premium pay; night shift differential; holiday pay; and all allowances and monetary benefits that are not considered, or integrated as part of the regular or basic salary of the employee.
      Source: Sunstar PH

  2. Hello. Is the 120-day maternity leave a nationwide fact? Yesterday was my last day of maternity leave (60 days) and I would like to extend my leave, without pay, until end of the semester. My supervisor agreed and I was advised to return by March 1 to be able to hopefully avail the vacation pay for summer break. But then another person-in-authority said there is no such thing as extending a maternity leave (even without pay!). So here I am trying to look for possible supporting details..

    1. Hello DA! The Expanded Maternity Leave (EML) bill has been approved by the Senate, but it hasn’t been enacted into law because President Rodrigo Duterte hasn’t signed it yet. Read more about it here and here.
      In the final version of the Expanded Maternity Leave (EML) law, moms-to-be are allowed 105 days of maternity leave. You should take note of the following from the second article I gave you:
      Option for a 30-day extension without pay
      Both the Senate and HOR versions had allowed for 30-day maternity leave but without pay, and it stayed in the final version. The new mom needs to give her employer a written notice ahead of time. Extending maternity leave days should also not affect the female employee’s tenure.
      Solo moms get extra paid maternity leave days
      Single moms will be entitled to 15 additional paid maternity leave days, on top of her solo parent leave credits. The HOR version did not include this provision, but the Senate version offered it to single moms who qualify to receive benefits under the Republic Act No. 8972 or the Solo Parent’s Welfare Act of 2000.

  3. We enjoy 15 days vacation leave in our educational institution. However, our institution HR created “management initiative leave (MIL)” whereby, our 15 days vacation leave will be used for MIL. Example, Jan. 9 declared non-working due to the Feast of Black Nazarene affecting our location. Is this MIL fair? Another, we normally enjoy Dec. 27, 28, 29 as our Christmas vacation. All schools and universities apply the same. But our HR used our 15 days vacation leave as MIL again. With this MIL, our 4 days was deducted from our 15 days vacation leave. Is this right? I hope you can help us on our concern. Thank you.

  4. HI! Our company said that our MIL needs to be earned. Every year we have 5days leave but we can only use 1day leave every 3 months, so technically we can’t use the 5 days leave in the first quarter all at once. If we want to do so, we need to earn those leave foe the next year so we can use it. Is this correct? I thought every year I am entitled with 5days leave and I can use it whenever I want to. Please enlighten me.

    1. Hi Justine! Employers in the Philippines are required to give their employees 5 days service incentive leave (SIL) each year. You can avail of this leave after you have been with the company for at least a year (https://www.dole.gov.ph/news/view/3081). But there’s no mandate on HOW those five days shall be used. It’s arbitrary on the part of the employer.
      However, your employer cannot demand that you apply for one day sick leave only when you have medical documents that prove you were sick for 3 days or more. Once you used up all five days, you can’t apply for sick leave or vacation leave afterward. You’ll just have to accept that you can be absent without pay until next year comes.

  5. Hi maam im asking about the sick leave..ilang days po ba pwede ma avail kapag sobra 2years na employed sa company..agency po ako sino po mag babayad ng sickleave ko at ilang days po ang ma aavail ko sa backpay …

    Salamat po

    1. Hello Glenda! Employers are required to give employees 5 days service incentive leave (SIL). They can be used as sick leave or vacation leave. You can avail of the SIL when you have been working for the agency for at least a year. If your agency is the one paying your salary, then it’s your agency that should be paying for your SIL.
      Regarding your backpay… sick leave, vacation leave, and holiday pay are not included in your backpay. It’s computed based on your basic salary times and the number of months you’ve been employed.

  6. Hello. Good day 🙂 I have unused sick leaves po kasi last year is it mandatory na bayaran ng company or not? Thank you

    1. The labor code only requires employers to give their employees 5 days service incentive leave. It’s the employer that decides how many days to add for sick and vacation leaves and sets the rules in implementing them. According to the law, only the 5 days SIL are commutable, which means they’re convertible to cash. But converting unused leaves into cash depends on your company’s policy. For more info, read this article: https://www.pressreader.com/philippines/manila-times/20130407/281633892705032

  7. Hi! Does paid sick/vacation leave covers the transportation allowance? Or rules about including allowances on paid leaves depend on our company policy?

    1. Transportation allowance is only provided when you’re on an official business trip, Sol. When you apply for a sick leave, you don’t need to ask for a transportation allowance. It’s the same with vacation leave.

  8. Hi po, I work as a sales representative in a private company. Naka sick leave po ako for two months due to my surgery sa ovary until March 31, Since I am regular so with pay po ang leave ko, I’m expecting po na every cutoff I will receive my regular salary. But our HR says that magrereflect yong sick leave ko sa August 1. Year which 1 year na ako regular. Tama po ba yon. Thanks po

    1. If you’re an employee in the private sector, you qualify for special leave benefits provided that you comply with the following conditions:
      — You have rendered at least six months of continuous work for the last twelve months before the surgery.
      — You have filed an application for special leave within a reasonable period of time from the expected date of surgery (except in cases requiring emergency gynecological procedure).
      — You have undergone a procedure due to a gynecological disease certified by a competent physician.
      Again, the special leave benefits may entitle you to full pay for two months, which includes your basic monthly income and mandatory allowances.

  9. Hi. I have an employee who wants to file leave of absence just to take care of his sick father. Due to business needs, we cannot allow her to be on leave. Will this be taken against the company if we deny the leave?

    1. Yes, Pempem. Your employee is entitled to 5 days of service incentive leave. Your employee has the right to file a paid leave of absence of 5 days. However, if your company’s policies include 10 days of paid leave, then your employee has the right to file for a paid leave of 10 days. You may consider discussing with your employee what happens after those days are up. Your employee must understand that he or she can’t be gone from work for a long time or else business operations may be affected. If he or she would be away for a long time, then as an employer you would have to consider hiring a temporary worker or perhaps a replacement.

    1. Yes, Adel. You will still have 5 days of service incentive leave. It’s your company’s decision whether or not you and your co-workers will receive more than 5 days of SIL. Your leaves may be used either as sick leave or vacation leave. Again, check your company’s leave policies on the number of days for your sick leave and the number of days for your vacation leave.

  10. Hi question lang po. I am on sick leave today (afriday) and on monday kasi holiday. Am i paid for that holiday? I am a regular employee and with vl and sl. thank you.

    1. Yes, Joe. Your paid leave is not considered an absence. You were paid for that day (Friday) as if you were able to work on that day. But if your paid leave fell on a holiday, you won’t get extra pay. Just your regular daily wage.

  11. Hi i am on sick leave today (friday) and on monday is a holiday. Paid parin ba ko dun sa monday holiday even if i file sick leave before the holiday? I am a regular employee with sl and vl. Thank you sooo much

    1. Yes, Joe. Your paid leave is not considered an absence. You were paid for that day (Friday) as if you were able to work on that day. But if your paid leave fell on a holiday, you won’t get extra pay. Just your regular daily wage.

    1. Your basic salary is included in the computation for your COLA, sir. Not the other way around. Also, your paid leaves are not considered absences. You were paid for those days as if you were able to work on those days. But you won’t receive extra pay if your leave fell on a holiday.

  12. Hi po. Ask ko lang SL po kasi ako ng friday. Ang sabi ng doctor, mag rest ako ng 2-3 days. Day off ko po ng saturday and sunday. Counted na po ba ang off ko dun sa 2-3 days na sinabi ng doctor ko?

    1. Cath, your only sick leave is one day (Friday). Your two days off won’t be classified as sick leave. All three days are included in your doctor’s advice to rest for 2 to 3 days. I hope you were able to get a lot of rest. 🙂

  13. Hi Ms Claire,

    I’m elma niyo 47y.o working in a bpo. I don’t have available leave credit for 2019 yet. In my company we 15 vl and sl combined. Feb 11 when i had a mild accident from the UV. 3 days po akong di nkapasok. I was advised by my supervisor na kpag nag absent ako Lwop na hanggang March plus with points na. Last friday nagstart po ang period ko and Sat until ngaun sobra lakas nya. Last Monday I still went to work also to personally inform my sup and HR about my condition worse come to worst bka maDnC po ako. Same ang sagot nila LWOP na and with points per day of absence. Under observation ako ng OB ko until today, sched po ako for transV. Hesitant tuloy akong magpa raspa if ever dahil tanggap ko naman yung Lwop pero yung points na mag aaccumulate per day na pede kong ikatanggal sa work pagbalik ko. A friend told me na qualified ako for magna carta. Totoo po b mam na pede kong ma avail yun if ever need talaga akong iDnC? Ano po pede kong sabihin sa employer ko? Kasi if it’s a law no one from the opis told me. Thanks po Godbless.

    1. Yes, Elma. In Republic Act No. 9710 or the Magna Carta of Women, you’ll find under Rule IV: Rights and Empowerment, Section 21 which is dedicated to Special Leave Benefits for Women (p. 76 of http://cws.up.edu.ph/wp-content/uploads/RA-9710-Magna-Carta-of-Women.pdf). It states: Any female employee in the public and private sector regardless of age and civil status shall be entitled to a special leave of two (2) months with full pay based on her gross monthly compensation due to surgery caused by gynecological disorders.

  14. Saan po galing ung paid leave n converted to cash n computation is total annual salary divided by 360 days?
    eh fixed po salary namin, bakit 360 days? d p b dapat basic salary divided by 22 days? monday to friday po pasok namin..salamat po…

    1. Jeffry, there is no such computation mentioned in the blog post above. DOLE recommends that only the 5 days service incentive leave are allowed to be converted into cash. And, the computation goes like this: multiply the remaining SIL by the employee’s daily wage. The total amount can be added to your employee’s salary as a one-time payment, just like a bonus.

    1. If your unused vacation leave is part of your service incentive leave, then it can be converted into cash. If your company’s policy allows employees to add their unused leaves to their leave credits next year, then it’s possible po. Everything depends on your company’s policies on sick leaves and vacation leaves and leaves that are convertible to cash.

  15. Hi! I would just like to clarify some information regarding leave credits. So, I’ve gone through and over your thread however I’m still a little bit confused about sick leave credits and vacation leave credits like how many sick leave credits is an employee entitled with? How many vacation leave credits is an employee entitled with? Is it the same or should it be two seperate leaves? Thanks so much!

    1. Hi, Nic! The only leave credits that an employee is entitled to according to law are 5 days of service incentive leave. These 5 days may be used as either sick leave or vacation leave. Of course, many companies tend to give their employees more than 5 days of SIL. This is allowed by law. However, the total number of days that a company gives to its employees will depend on the company’s generosity. Some companies give their workers up to 30 days of leave while others give their employees only 10 days of leave. Some companies declare the number of days for sick leave are separate from the number of days for vacation leave. What it all comes down to is this: It will all depend on your company’s leave policy.

  16. Hi,

    Question lang po about going on a leave during holidays.

    It is mandatory that we report to work during holidays, I believe that there’s a law na kapag nag-leave ka on a holiday, it’s either your leave credits will not be deducted or you will be paid double if binawasan yung leave?

    1. That’s not true, Armando. Some companies do not require their employees to go to work during holidays. That depends on how essential your work is. For example, a security guard wants to have a one-day vacation leave on Christmas Day but nobody else is willing to change shifts with him, and so he has no choice but to go to work. If your leave was on a holiday and it was approved, then you are considered present for that day. You won’t get your extra holiday pay, however, but you will still be paid your usual daily wage. However, if it’s a special non-working holiday, then you won’t be paid at all because the rule of “no work, no pay” takes effect. BUT… if you were on leave that day, then you will get paid your usual daily wage without extra pay. For sure, babawasan talaga yung leave credits mo.

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