Dear Atty. Vlad,
I used to work with a Business Processing Company. I stayed there for seven years. However, during that period, I was not paid my service incentive leave pay. Last week, I resigned. When I was asking for my service incentive leave pay, I was only given the equivalent of three years because, according to my employer, prescription has already set in. Is my employer correct? Please help me.
Your employer is wrong. From what you narrated, you were not paid your service incentive leave pay for seven years, and when you resigned, you were only paid the equivalent of three years SILP.
In the case of Lourdes C. Rodriguez vs Park N Ride Inc. Nicest (Phils.) Inc./Grand Leisure Corp./Sps. Vicente & Estelita B. Javier, (GR 222980, 20 March 2017), the Supreme Court, citing the case of Auto Bus Transport System Inc. vs Bautista (497 Phil. 863, 2005), explained:
“However, Auto Bus Transport System Inc. vs Bautista clarified the correct reckoning of the prescriptive period for service incentive leave pay:”
“Applying Article 291 of the Labor Code in light of this peculiarity of the service incentive leave, we can conclude that the three-year prescriptive period commences, not at the end of the year when the employee becomes entitled to the commutation of his service incentive leave, but from the time when the employer refuses to pay its monetary equivalent after demand of commutation or upon termination of the employee’s services, as the case may be.”
“The above construal of Art. 291, vis-a-vis the rules on service incentive leave, is in keeping with the rudimentary principle that in the implementation and interpretation of the provisions of the Labor Code and its implementing regulations, the workingman’s welfare should be the primordial and paramount consideration. The policy is to extend the applicability of the decree to a greater number of employees who can avail of the benefits under the law, which is in consonance with the avowed policy of the State to give maximum aid and protection to labor. (Emphasis supplied).”
“Thus, the prescriptive period with respect to petitioner’s claim for her entire service incentive leave pay commenced only from the time of her resignation or separation from employment. Since petitioner had filed her complaint on 7 October 2009, or a few days after her resignation in September 2009, her claim for service incentive leave pay has not prescribed. Accordingly, petitioner must be awarded service incentive leave pay for her entire 25 years of service — from 1984 to 2009 — and not only three years’ worth (2006 to 2009) as determined by the Court of Appeals.”
From the above-cited decision of the Supreme Court, since you made the demand within the three-year prescriptive period, your right to claim the rest of your SILP has not yet prescribed. Hence, you are entitled to service incentive leave pay for four more years or 20 more days of SILP.
I hope that I was able to help you based on the facts you stated.
Atty. Vlad del Rosario
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