House approves bill seeking a 10-day paid incentive leave for workers

The House of Representatives has approved a bill that requires employers to give every employee in the Philippines a 10-day incentive leave with pay.

Qualified employees may soon enjoy yearly paid leaves of up to 10 days after the House of Representatives passed on third and final reading a measure seeking to double the service incentive leaves.

With a vote of 203-0, the Lower House passed House Bill No. 6770, which seeks to award 10 days of paid service incentive leaves annually for every employee that has been part of a company for at least one year. This is double than the five days that is currently required by law.

The bill, principally authored by Baguio City Rep. Mark Go, seeks to amend Article 95 of Presidential Decree No. 442, as amended, otherwise known as the Labor Code of the Philippines.

“The granting of such incentive boosts the morale and satisfaction of employees which is manifested in their increased productivity. Leave credits also minimize the risks of health and safety issues among employees which may be even costlier for both employers and employees in the long run,” Go said.

The paid service incentive leave is a benefit for employees who have rendered at least one year of service required by the Labor Code. It aims to allow employees to take personal time off from work to take care of personal activities or endeavors while still enjoying compensation.

However, it is not available to employees who already enjoy vacation leaves of similar duration. Organizations employing less than 10 workers are also exempted from granting the service incentive leave.
Still, if the bill gets enacted into law, this will place the Philippines’ labor laws ahead of rich, neighboring countries such as Japan, Singapore and China that all require less than 10 days of paid annual leaves for employees that have rendered at least one year of service.

Other authors of the measure, among others, are former Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas, Ilocos Sur. Rep. Deogracias Victor Savellano, Apayao Rep. Eleanor Bulut-Begtang, Nueva Vizcaya Rep. Luisa Lloren Cuaresma, Parañaque Rep. Gus Tambunting and Pangasinan Rep. Leopoldo Bataoil.

A counterpart measure in the Senate titled Service Incentive Leave of Employees (SB No. 1614) was filed by Sen. Joel Villanueva in November 2017 but it remains pending at the committee level.