One question that usually comes up as soon as the ‘ber months rolls-in is that will freelancers also get a 13th month pay? Are their clients required by law to honor this Christmas tradition in the country?
There are more and more Filipino freelancers catering to overseas clients these days. These pinoy freelancers work from the comfort of their home doing different tasks.
In the Philippines, the month of December is a highly anticipated month, not only because of the Christmas season but because of the 13th month pay. And for lucky folks, there is even a Christmas bonus on top of the extra-month pay.
Do we hear 14th month, 15th month? We wish! 🙂
What is the 13th month pay?
This corresponds to one month extra pay for employees who have worked for a company for one whole year, payable on or before December 24. If the employee worked in the company for at least 1 month but less than 12 months within the year, said employee is still entitled to receive a 13th month pay. However, in this case, the amount that will be given to the employee will be prorated.
The 13th month pay is a law in the Philippines under Presidential Decree No. 851. This law requires all employers to pay a 13th month which is equivalent to one month basic salary or pro-rated as the case maybe, to all their rank and file employees who have rendered at least 1 month work within the calendar year, regardless of salary, designation / position, employment status, and how the wages are paid (monthly or daily paid workers).
When it comes to online freelancers like virtual assistants, content writers, social media managers, web developers, graphic artists, video editors, real estate cold callers, transcriptionist, e-commerce specialists, etc., unfortunately this law in the Philippines is not applicable to their clients.
Why are the clients of freelancers not obligated to pay a 13th month pay?
The answer is simple. There is no employer – employee relationship between the Filipino freelancers and the clients. This labor related law does not apply to them.
Freelancers maybe hired on a project basis or on long term contract basis, but still the designation is as ‘freelancer’ rendering a service and ‘client’ who pays for that service.
Freelancing is an informal set-up in a gig economy, it’s not an employer-employee set-up.
Are there clients who gives 13th month pay?
The good news is that yes there are very generous clients who give their pinoy freelancers the 13th month pay. It could be out of the goodness of their hearts, or for a stellar work performance, or for hitting company year-end targets, or they just want to give the Filipino hires the 13th month pay. Whatever it is, if you receive a 13th-month pay or any holiday bonus as a freelancer, no matter how much the amount, be thankful for it because not every one is as lucky as you.
Again, the client is not obligated to give a 13th month pay nor a Christmas bonus to freelancers. You are one lucky individual if you do get one or both just like a normal employee who works for a Philippine-based business or company.
Should you ask for a 13th month pay from your client?
Now, on this question if it is okay to ask the client for 13th month pay or to mention to client about the 13th month pay tradition in the Philippines, PaskongPinoy team has this to say…
No. Don’t do it, please. Other countries does not have a 13th month pay tradition. Asking for it or mentioning about the law to your client is unprofessional. You entered the freelance contract knowing that you are not a normal employee, so it isn’t wise to put pressure on your client for a law that does not bind them.
Let the client give you a Christmas bonus or a 13th month pay by his or her own accord. If you receive nothing at the end of December, try not to feel bad. Remember that you are a professional working as an online freelancer, you’ve got lots of benefits that traditional workers in the country does not enjoy.
If you really want to get a 13th month pay every year then it would be best to stay in the corporate world working for a Philippine-based establishment.
Also, try to be happy for all pinoy freelancers who are getting 13th month pay from their clients. Maybe in the following year, you will also be among the lucky ones. Sana all may bonus!
How to Compensate for the Lack of 13th Month Pay
What you can do so you have something to look forward to in December is to save a percentage of your salary from your freelance work every month, put this in a coin bank or a savings account. Then come December, take out all the saved-up funds so you can splurge on gifts for yourself and your love ones, just like getting a bonus!
You can even begin a group saving activity especially if there are several Filipino freelancers in your team. Say put in $25 monthly among yourselves, designate a trustworthy treasure, and come December distribute the proceeds of your fund during the holidays. It will feel awesome to have bulk money during the holiday.
Feeling envious of other’s great fortune is normal because we are but human. But don’t wallow too much on it. You are lucky because you have work. You are lucky because you can watch and care for your kids everyday even in the middle of a project. You are lucky because you don’t have to brave horrendous traffic to get to work. You are one lucky individual because you are a freelancer.
With prayers and hope, Paskong Pinoy wish is for you to also eventually find a generous client who gives Christmas and holiday bonuses.
If you are one of the luckier ones with generous clients now, give thanks to God and share your blessings. Greater abundance comes to those who share blessings.
Did you get a freelancer 13th month pay? Do share your story!
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