January 23, 2012 Chinese New Year Holiday Pay Rules

Filipinos would be marking the first holiday of 2012 in two weeks. For the first time in Philippine history, Chinese New Year, which falls on January 23, will be observed as a special non-working holiday. This is by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 295, signed by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa November 24 of last year. Since January 23 is a Monday, this effectively gives students and most Filipino employees a three-day weekend.

January 23, 2012 falls on a Monday - effectively giving Filipinos a three-day weekend

Proclamation 295 notes that the Chinese New Year, also referred to as Spring Festival, is “one of the most revered and festive events” celebrated not only in China but also in the Philippines “by both Chinese Filipinos and ordinary Filipinos.” The decree seeks to “manifest the Filipinos’ solidarity with the Chinese-Filipino community.” Download President Benigno Aquino III’s Proclamation 295 here.

President Benigno Cojuangco Aquino III is a fifth generation descendant of Chinese immigrant Xu Yuhuan (or Jose Cojuangco). He was a trader in Fujian, China before sailing to the Philippines in 1850s. The late Philippine leader Corazon Aquino made international headlines in 1988 when she became the first head of state to embark on a ‘roots-tracing’ trip to her ancestral hometown, the village of Hongjian in southeastern China. Read more about this from Xinhua.net.

Corazon Aquino visited the Cojuangco's ancestral hometown in Hongjian, China in 1988

Being just a special non-working holiday, Filipino employees are not entitled to a double pay if they opt to report for work on that day.  According to rules set by the Department of Labor and Employment, they will instead get their regular hourly rate plus an additional of 30% for the first eight hours of work.

Working beyond eight hours on the said day would entitle them to an additional pay of 30%. Legally speaking, those who will choose not to work on January 23 will not get any pay “unless there is a favorable company policy…granting payment of wages on special days even if unworked.” This commonly depends on an employee’s status (contractual/probationary/non-permanent workers are usually not paid on special non-working days).

Lastly, employees who will work on January 23 despite it being their scheduled rest day must get their entire regular pay plus an additional of 50% for the first eight hours of service rendered. They will get 150% more if they work beyond eight hours. Advanced Kung Hei Fat Choi, everyone!



Mark Madrona

Mark Madrona is a prize-winning blogger, online journalist, and educator from the Philippines. Previously a book editor, he is now teaching communication subjects for two public universities in Manila. His blog The Filipino Scribe won 3rd place in a blog competition organized by the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability in East Asia and the Pacific (ANSA-EAP). In 2015, it was one of the finalists in the 2015 Lasallian Scholarum Awards for Best Online Feature Article in Youth and Education. He also won the Best Blog Award during the 2011 Population and Development Media Awards, the youngest recipient of that recognition. Know more about him here: http://www.filipinoscribe.com/about/.

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