Delayed Release of Final Pay may Result in Criminal LiabilityAtty Elvin
To grasp the concept of the rules governing final pay, it is important to understand the rules, doctrines, and principles that interplay on this matter. Considering that this may relate to the policies and rules of employer, the principle on construction in favor of labor applies.
Art. 4, of the Labor Code provides that all doubts in the implementation and interpretation of the provisions of the Labor Code, including its implementing rules and regulations, shall be resolved in favor of labor.
Another rule is the time of payment of wages. This is found under Article 103 which states that wages shall be paid at least once every two (2) weeks or twice a month at intervals not exceeding sixteen (16) days. No employer shall make payment with less frequency than once a month.
Hence, wage that is not paid within the period prescribed or as stated in the said labor advisory within 30 days, may give rise to withholding of wages. Under Article 116 of the Labor Code, it shall be unlawful for any person, directly or indirectly, to withhold any amount from the wages of a worker or induce him to give up any part of his wages by force, stealth, intimidation, threat or by any other means whatsoever without the worker’s consent.
If withholding is done in retaliation to an employee who filed a labor case or complaint, then it may fall within retaliation measure. Under Article 118 of the Labor Code, it shall be unlawful for an employer to refuse to pay or reduce the wages and benefits, discharge or in any manner discriminate against any
employee who has filed any complaint or instituted.
Any act which delays the payment of wages or in this case final pay, is penalized criminally under Article 303 of the Labor Code. It provides that except as otherwise provided in the Labor Code, or unless the acts complained of hinge on a question of interpretation or implementation of ambiguous provisions of an existing collective bargaining agreement, any violation of the provisions of the Labor Code declared to be unlawful or penal in nature shall be punished with a fine of not less than One Thousand Pesos (P1,000.00) nor more than Ten Thousand Pesos (P10,000.00) or imprisonment of not less than three months nor more than three years, or both such fine and imprisonment at the discretion of the court.
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