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Timely gratuity pay for contract and job order workers in gov’t

In a government agency or a local government unit (LGU), there are workers who are under a contract of service (COS) or a job order (JO) scheme. Though they are not classified as “regular” workers, their services are vital and needed to ensure that the government’s programs, projects, and activities are implemented smoothly and efficiently.They are remembered for their services all year round, but they are usually the last when it comes to financial benefits. Year in and year out, they are forgotten during the holiday season, when workers get extra cash and gifts for a job well done.

This year, the COS and JO workers do not have to worry or beg for crumbs as there is now an Administrative Order (AO) No. 3, which “authorizes the grant of gratuity pay to COS and JO workers in government for fiscal year 2022.” The President signed this AO last Dec. 23, which will give them a one-time gratuity pay not exceeding P5,000.

AO No. 3 covers all workers whose services are directly engaged through COS and JO by national government agencies, state universities and colleges, government-owned and controlled corporations, and local water districts. Based on the administrative order, COS and JO workers who have rendered a total or an aggregate of at least four months of actual satisfactory performance of service, as stipulated in their respective contracts, as of Dec. 15, 2022, and whose contracts are still effective, as of the same date, are covered by the gratuity pay. Add to that, COS and JO workers who have rendered less than four months of actual satisfactory performance of service may also be granted a one-time gratuity pay on a pro rata basis.

“The COS and JO workers in the government are paid salaries and wages equivalent to those received by personnel occupying comparable positions in government and a premium of up to 20 percent of such salary or wage, but they do not enjoy benefits accorded to regular government employees as they have no employer-employee relationship with the government,” the AO said. Granting a year-end gratuity pay to COS and JO workers, therefore, is a “well-deserved recognition of their hard work in implementing programs, projects, and activities and pivotal role in the delivery of government services amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and present socio-economic challenges.”

Requests for the use of savings shall be submitted by national government agencies and state universities and colleges to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) not later than five working days from the effectivity of AO No. 3, for endorsement to the Office of the President. The DBM, according to AO No. 3, shall release the corresponding Special Allotment Release Order and Notice of Cash Allocation, as needed, upon approval of the President. LGUs are enjoined to adopt in their respective offices the grant of gratuity pay to their COS and JO workers.

This gratuity pay is a very welcome move, considering the rising inflation, making basic goods and services more expensive than they were a year ago. More than the financial “gift,” the government now has to institutionalize the protection (e.g. medical or insurance benefits, etc.) that it can provide to COS and JO workers. The President has already started this move by putting in writing this AO for gratuity pay; there should be more in the pipeline for COS and JO workers — who are Filipinos deserving of a decent and permanent employment no less.

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