PHILIPPINES: Annual Update – Expected labour law changes in 2016

Breastfeeding facilities

Workplace lactation station exemption: If setting up a breastfeeding station is not feasible or is unnecessary due to specific circumstances, an employer will not have to install the necessary facilities. The specific circumstances include matters such as the number of female employees; the physical size of the establishment; and the number of women who would use the facility if it is put in place.

There are also exemptions from the requirement to provide breastfeeding facilities where: (a) there are no nursing mothers on site; (b) there are no pregnant employees; and (c) no female clients will be visiting the office.

The exemptions were introduced on 2 July 2015. To benefit, there is an application process, and once complete, it must be renewed when it expires.
Action required:
(1) Assess whether this exemption may apply to the business.
(2) To apply for the exemption, submit the following documentation to the nearest DOLE Field Office: (a) a completed application form signed by the owner, president or manager or their authorized representative; and/or (b) if applying for a renewal, a copy of the certificate of previous exemption (if applying for renewal of exemption).

Tax exemption

Increased tax exemption cap on bonuses and other benefits of workers: On March 1, 2015, the law increased the tax exemption cap from P30,000 to P82,000. The tax exemption covers all bonuses, including 13th month pay and Christmas bonus. Employers have to ensure the exemption is correctly reflected.
Action required: Ensure the increased exemption is reflected correctly by making the necessary year-end adjustments. The adjustments have to be reflected in the Certificate of Compensation/Tax Withheld (BIR Form No. 2316), and this Certificate must be given to the employee on or before January 31, 2016.
If, however, the employment terminates before December 31, 2015, the Certificate needs to be issued on the same day that the employee receives his/her final payments.