Understanding the Basics: How to Compute 13th Month Pay

Understanding the Basics: How to Compute 13th Month Pay

The 13th month pay is a significant aspect of employment in the Philippines, ensuring employees receive an additional financial benefit during the holiday season. Therefore, accurate calculation of 13th-month pay is critical to employers and employees to ensure fair compensation and compliance with labor laws.

This article aims to provide an in-depth, step-by-step guide that equips employers and employees with the knowledge needed to calculate 13th-month pay accurately and efficiently.

By following this guide, readers will gain insights into the basic principles, formulae, and considerations involved in computing 13th-month pay, giving them the confidence to navigate this process safely and transparently.

Whether you are an employer calculating 13th month pay or an employee trying to understand your entitlement, this article is here to assist in understanding its fundamentals while staying compliant with Philippine laws and regulations.

What is the 13th Month Pay?

13th-month pay is a mandatory benefit in the Philippines that provides employees with an additional month’s worth of compensation, equivalent to 1/12th of their total basic salary earned within a calendar year. This benefit is mandated by Presidential Decree No. 851, also known as the 13th Month Pay Law.

Who is Eligible for 13th Month Pay?

Eligibility for 13th-month pay is determined using specific criteria. All rank-and-file employees in the private sector who meet specific eligibility requirements – regardless of designation, employment status (regular, probationary, or contractual), or payment method (hourly, daily, or monthly), are entitled to receive 13th-month pay. However, managers with significant control over company operations are exempted from this rule.

Exceptions may apply to certain types of organizations, such as micro-businesses and those facing financial difficulties, as long as they meet the criteria set by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

Employees who have resigned or separated from their employment before the end of the calendar year are still entitled to receive 13th-month pay, provided they have worked for at least one month during that year.

Employees must understand the difference between basic salary and 13th-month pay. Basic salary refers to fixed compensation agreed between an employer and employee, excluding allowances, overtime pay bonuses, or any additional payments such as 13th-month pay. 13th-month pay is calculated on top of the basic salary earned during any calendar year; other income and benefits should not be counted towards it for accuracy and compliance purposes.

By understanding the definition of 13th-month pay, its legal basis, eligibility requirements, and the difference between basic salary and 13th-month pay, employers and employees can establish a solid foundation for accurately calculating this important benefit.

Inclusion and Exclusions

When computing the 13th month’s pay, it’s essential to understand what should be included and excluded from the calculation:


Basic Salary: The employee’s fixed monthly salary agreed upon by the employer and the employee.


Allowances and Monetary Benefits: Allowances and monetary benefits that are not integrated or considered part of the basic salary should be excluded from the computation. These may include:

  • Cash equivalent of unused vacation leave and sick leave credits
  • Overtime pay
  • Premium pay
  • Night shift differential
  • Holiday pay
  • Cost of living allowance (COLA)

The 13th-month pay does not consider non-integrated allowances and benefits in its calculation to ensure only essential aspects of employee compensation are considered in this calculation.

It’s important to remember that specific inclusions and exclusions may vary based on labor laws, collective bargaining agreements, or company policies, so it is highly advised to refer to applicable regulations and guidelines to ensure accurate computation of 13th-month pay.

Understanding what should be included and excluded is crucial for accurately computing the 13th month pay.

How to Compute 13th Month Pay?

Understanding the Formula

Calculating 13th-month pay is straightforward given that the employee has no absences or deductions:

Total Basic Annual Salary Earned ÷ 12 months = 13th Month Pay

This formula ensures an equitable distribution of 13th-month pay based on an employee’s total basic salary earned and duration of employment within one calendar year.

To Fully Explain This Formula and Its Components

  • Total Basic Salary Earned:
    This term refers to an employee’s basic annual pay for one calendar year, comprising any fixed monthly compensation agreed between employers and employees, as well as additional income or benefits that might come their way.
  • 12 months:
    This denominator normalizes computation and provides a consistent basis for calculating 13th-month pay.

To Better Understand The Calculation Process, Let’s Review the below Example:

Example 1: John earned a total basic annual salary of ₱600,000, with a monthly income of ₱50,000. Since John doesn’t have any absences, the 13th-month pay would be calculated as follows:

13th-month pay = ₱600,000 ÷ 12 = ₱50,000

This example demonstrates how to compute the 13th-month pay accurately by dividing the total basic annual salary by 12 months. The monthly income specified is the total basic salary per month, excluding all additional income and benefits.

What is Prorated 13th Month Pay?

Remember that your 13th month’s pay may only correspond with your monthly wage in some situations. For example, if you have not worked for the full 12 months during the current year, your 13th-month pay will be prorated accordingly; that means your calculation will only consider the months you have worked for your company.

Proration involves leaving out months you have not worked from your calculation but still dividing by 12. For example, employees hired midyear or near the end of the year by companies and those experiencing temporary work interruption due to pandemic closures often face prorated 13th-month pay calculations.

Understanding this prorated approach ensures that the 13th-month pay accurately represents your employment throughout the year. In addition, this calculation considers months worked while adhering to annual benefit structures.

How to Compute Prorated 13th Month Pay?

When employees have yet to work the whole year, it’s necessary to calculate the prorated 13th-month pay. Here’s how to do it:

Pro-rated 13th Month Pay = (Total Monthly Basic Salary × Months Worked – Total Salary Deductions) ÷ 12

In this formula, the “Total Basic Salary” refers to the employee’s total monthly basic salary, “Months Worked” represents the number of months the employee has worked, and the “Total Salary Deductions” represent any deductions or withholdings from the salary.

Sarah has a total basic salary of ₱35,000 per month. However, she only worked for seven months and didn’t work for the remaining five months. However, Sarah has no deductions or absences during her seven months of work. Therefore, her 13th-month pay needs to be prorated.

Let’s use an example to demonstrate how to compute the prorated 13th-month pay using the above formula:

  • Step 1: Multiply Sarah’s monthly basic salary by the number of months worked:

    Monthly Salary * Months Worked = ₱35,000 * 7 = ₱245,000
  • Step 2: Since Sarah has no deductions, the total salary will still be ₱245,000:

    Prorated 13th Month pay = ₱245,000 – 0= ₱245,000
  • Step 3: Divide the result by 12 (total months in a year) to determine the prorated 13th-month pay:

    Prorated 13th Month pay = ₱245,000 / 12 = ₱20,416.67

In this example, Sarah’s prorated 13th-month pay is approximately ₱20,416.67. This calculation considers her total basic salary and the duration of her employment (7 months) and prorates the 13th-month pay based on the number of months worked.

How to Compute 13th Month Pay with Maternity Leave?

Still using the same formula mentioned above. Let’s use an example to demonstrate how to compute the prorated 13th-month pay with Maternity Leave:

Jane has a total basic salary of ₱35,000 per month. She worked for 9 months in the year and took a 3-month Maternity leave, and her total salary deductions amount to ₱5,000.

Using the formula:

Pro-rated 13th Month Pay = (Total Monthly Basic Salary × Months Worked – Total Salary Deductions) ÷ 12

= (₱35,000 × 9 – ₱5,000) ÷ 12
= (₱315,000 – ₱5,000) ÷ 12
= ₱310000 ÷ 12
= ₱25,833

In this example, Jane’s prorated 13th-month pay, considering her absences, maternity leave, and salary deductions, amounts to ₱25,833. This calculation considers her total basic salary, months worked, and salary deductions, providing an accurate representation of her earned benefits during the period she worked.

As part of calculating prorated 13th-month pay, it’s essential to factor in any salary deductions and any maternity leave taken by an employee.

Salary deductions refer to any withholdings or deductions taken out of an employee’s pay, such as taxes, contributions to insurance or retirement plans, loan repayments, or any other authorized deductions once this data has been subtracted from their total basic salary to calculate their net pay earned by them.

Jane earns a total basic monthly salary of P35,000. For this example, the formula considers any deductions from her pay that might take place; for instance, if they total P5,000, this sum would be deducted from her total earnings over all months worked.

Additionally, if Jane took maternity leave during the period considered for prorated 13th-month pay calculation, its duration would also be factored into it using an adjusted formula based on actual months worked by employees.

By considering salary deductions and any periods of maternity leave, prorated 13th-month pay calculations provide an accurate depiction of employee-earned benefits while considering specific circumstances and adjustments necessary for accurate calculations.

How to Compute 13th Month Pay with Absences?

When calculating the 13th-month pay for individuals with absences and deductions but who have worked for the entire 12 months, the same formula can be applied:

Pro-rated 13th Month Pay = (Total Monthly Basic Salary × Months Worked – Total Salary Deductions) ÷ 12

Let’s use an example to demonstrate how to compute the 13th month pay with absences:

John has a total basic salary of ₱30,000 per month. He worked for the entire 12 months of the year but had a total of 5 absences due to personal reasons. The total salary deductions for John amount to ₱6,000 for the year.

Using the formula mentioned earlier:

Pro-rated 13th Month Pay = (Total Basic Salary × Months Worked – Total Salary Deductions) ÷ 12
= (₱30,000 × 12 – ₱6,000) ÷ 12
= (₱360,000 – ₱6,000) ÷ 12
= ₱354,000 ÷ 12
= ₱29,500

In this example, John’s 13th-month pay, considering his absences and salary deductions, amounts to ₱29,500. This calculation considers his total basic salary and the entire 12 months of work and subtracts the deductions made from his earnings. Thus, John is entitled to receive ₱29,500 as his 13th-month pay, reflecting his actual earnings and any deductions incurred throughout the year.

It’s important to note that this formula assumes the individual has worked for the full 12 months, even if absences or deductions were throughout the year. It ensures that the 13th-month pay computation considers the actual earnings and deductions of the employee, resulting in a fair calculation of their entitled benefit.

Bonuses and Other Considerations

Treatment of Bonuses

When calculating 13th-month pay, it’s essential to account for bonuses. In general, 13th-month pay is calculated using total basic salary as the base; if an employee receives bonuses that form part of their regular compensation and are included when computing basic salary figures, then these should also be factored into 13th-month pay calculations

Example: If an employee receives a monthly performance bonus already included as part of their total basic salary, it should be factored into their 13th-month pay calculation. Conversely, if this bonus were discretionary or separate from regular compensation, its inclusion would not be necessary.

Additional Considerations

It is also essential to consider other considerations when calculating 13th-month pay, such as mid-year bonuses or productivity incentives offered by employers that could sway its calculations. These include mid-year bonuses, productivity incentives, or any particular forms of compensation from them.

When an employee receives a mid-year bonus or any form of special compensation during the year, its amount should be carefully evaluated to ascertain if it should be added into regular compensation calculations for 13th-month pay calculations. If it meets this criterion, its inclusion will increase monthly payments.

Employees and employers should understand their company’s policies and guidelines regarding bonuses or additional considerations, including bonuses or incentives impacting 13th-month pay calculations. Employers should provide precise details regarding these matters for transparency and fairness of operations.

Employers can accurately determine 13th-month pay by considering bonuses and other compensation packages provided to employees throughout the year.

Difference Between Bonus Pay, Christmas Bonus, and 13th Month Pay

As bonus pay, Christmas bonus, and 13th month pay are distinct forms of compensation, employees must understand the differences.

Bonus Pay

Bonus pay refers to additional compensation given beyond regular salaries for employees beyond their regular salaries. Bonuses can be performance-based, profit-sharing, or discretionary and used as rewards or motivation for outstanding performance or meeting target objectives. Bonus payments may occur throughout the year depending on individual or company performance and may even vary depending on timing or amount given out.

Christmas Bonus

Christmas bonus (or 13th month bonus) is an employee benefit traditionally distributed in the Philippines during the holiday season, distinct from 13th month pay. It typically provides one-time payments in December as an expression of goodwill or assistance towards employee holiday expenses; its amount is predetermined by employers rather than calculated based on salary or length of service.

13th Month Pay

The 13th month pay, as mandated by Philippine law, is a mandatory benefit that employers must provide to their employees. It equals one-twelfth (1/12) of an employee’s basic salary earned within a calendar year; its purpose is to give additional income during holiday seasons compared with bonus pay which is calculated on base pay alone and prorated accordingly.

Employers and employees should understand the differences between Christmas bonuses and 13th month pay, discretionary payments during the holiday season, and 13th month pay as mandatory benefits provided to eligible employees throughout the year. Both forms of compensation should be treated separately from any bonuses an employee may receive throughout the year; it is crucial for both to fully comprehend and comply with these forms of payment to meet expectations regarding entitlements and compliance.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has set forth specific legal requirements and regulations regarding 13th month pay in the Philippines. Employers must follow these regulations to avoid penalties or legal issues with their employees.

The Department of Labor and Employment requires all private employers, regardless of business size, to provide 13th month pay for all employees working within their workforce – regular and probationary employees and those who resigned or were terminated during the year. This provision of fundamental labor rights constitutes part of employee compensation packages.

Deadlines and Penalties for Non-Compliance

Employers are legally obliged to pay their employees their 13th month pay on or before December 24th each year. Failing to do so could result in penalties such as fines, suspension of operations, or imprisonment of responsible officers.

Employers must accurately calculate and pay all eligible employees their 13th month pay by the due date to stay compliant, as this allows employers to provide evidence of compliance should an audit or inquiry by the DOLE occur. In addition, employers must keep proper records regarding payments made in case of an audit or inquiry by this government agency.

Seeking Professional Advice and Official Sources

Given the complexity of labor laws and regulations, employers should consult legal professionals or official sources such as the DOLE website to get up-to-date information regarding 13th-month pay, such as guidelines or updates in regulations or rules. The DOLE offers guidelines and clarifications regarding 13th-month pay through official channels like their website – an invaluable source.

Staying aware of legal requirements and compliance obligations ensures employers and employees understand their rights and responsibilities concerning 13th month pay. In addition, by adhering to legal standards and seeking expert advice, employers can meet their obligations fairly and transparently while providing their employees with their benefits equitably and transparently.

Final Words

Calculating 13th month pay in the Philippines requires understanding its basic formula, taking prorated amounts for partial employment into account, considering absences and maternity leaves as they arise, being aware of inclusions and exclusions, and being familiar with inclusions/exclusions policies. Furthermore, bonus pay, Christmas bonuses, and 13th month pay must remain distinct forms of employee compensation.

Precise calculations of 13th month pay to ensure employees receive their due benefits while employers meet their legal obligations. By adhering to Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) regulations, employers can maintain a fair compensation system that supports employee well-being.

When faced with more complex cases or scenarios, employers and employees should consult legal professionals or official guidelines from the DOLE for advice. Being informed on legal requirements and compliance obligations will enable employers to calculate the 13th-month pay accurately.

Understanding and complying with legal regulations regarding 13th-month pay can strengthen employer-employee relationships and foster a culture of fairness and transparency in the workplace. In addition, by rewarding employees for their efforts while meeting employer obligations in an accountable fashion, understanding 13th month pay can further cement employer-employee relationships.

Remember, the 13th month pay is not just a financial benefit; it is a recognition of employees’ hard work and a means to help them celebrate and provide for their families during the holiday season. Therefore, let us strive for accurate and compliant calculations of the 13th month pay, fostering a positive and harmonious working environment for everyone involved.



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