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13th Month

The term 13th month refers to an additional month’s salary or bonus payment granted to employees as a form of year-end incentive or reward. In some countries, particularly in the Philippines, this 13th month pay is a legally mandated benefit designed to provide employees with an extra financial boost during the holiday season. It serves as a means to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of employees throughout the year, fostering a positive work environment and promoting employee satisfaction.


The concept of the 13th month pay originated in the Philippines as a result of the Presidential Decree No. 851 enacted in 1975. This law mandates that all employees, regardless of their employment status, are entitled to receive a 13th month pay equivalent to one-twelfth (1/12) of their total basic salary earned within a calendar year. The purpose behind this regulation is to uplift the economic well-being of workers and their families, ensuring a more inclusive growth and distribution of wealth.


Employers are required to provide the 13th month pay to all eligible employees on or before December 24th of each year. The computation of this extra compensation is based on the employee’s total basic salary, which includes the basic wage plus other salary-related components, such as regular allowances and commissions. Overtime pay, night shift differential, and other similar additional compensations are not considered in the computation.

The 13th month pay should be pro-rated for employees who have worked for less than a full calendar year. For instance, if an employee has served for six months within a year, he or she is entitled to half of their monthly basic salary as the 13th month pay. However, it is important to note that the employer has the prerogative to grant an amount higher than the legally required 13th month pay, known as an additional or discretionary bonus, depending on the company’s financial performance, policies, and discretion.


The 13th month pay offers several benefits for both employers and employees. From an employer’s perspective, it serves as a mechanism to recognize and reward the hard work and loyalty of their workforce, fostering a positive work culture, and enhancing employee motivation. Moreover, complying with mandatory labor laws promotes trust, job satisfaction, and loyalty among employees, reducing turnover rates and increasing employee retention.

For employees, the 13th month pay provides a timely boost to their financial resources, enabling them to meet their personal and familial obligations during the holiday season. This additional income can be utilized for various purposes, including settling debts, purchasing gifts, covering expenses, or saving for future financial goals. By ensuring a fair distribution of income, the 13th month pay contributes to reducing income inequality and improving the overall standard of living for employees.

In conclusion, the 13th month pay is a legally mandated benefit that provides employees with an extra month’s salary or bonus payment at the end of the year. Originating from the Philippines, this practice has gained recognition in other countries as a means to reward and recognize the efforts of employees while fostering a positive work environment. Its significance lies in its ability to enhance employee motivation, promote loyalty, reduce turnover rates, and contribute to the economic well-being of individuals and their families.