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13th Month Pay Guide For Workers Worldwide

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Written By James Peters

Handling transnational human resource requirements can leave you clueless and overwhelmed if you manage a company operating across multiple countries. Every jurisdiction has its expected inclusions, laws, and regulations. So, it would help if you familiarize yourself with them bit by bit, starting with the 13th-month pay. 

The 13th-month pay is a bonus that some employers offer their employees to reward them for their hard work. Besides the 13th-month pay, employers may convert paid leaves to additional salary or transfer leftover leaves to the following year.

This extra compensation is usually paid during December, but some employers may give it at a different time. They can provide it anywhere between a month early to after the New Year. 

If you’d like to know more about the 13th-month pay, this article will guide you on everything you need to know about it. 

Who is Entitled to a 13th-Month Pay?

In the U.S., employees are entitled to a 13th-month pay if they work for the same employer for a whole year. 

Employers can decide if they want to give this bonus to their employees or not. Some companies only provide bonuses if they make a certain amount of profit during the year, while others base the decision on the employee’s performance or length of service.

If an employee receives a bonus, they are usually required to work up until January 1st before they receive it. Meanwhile, some companies will provide bonuses earlier than this date and allow their employees to take them immediately after receiving them.

How to Calculate 13th-Month Pay?

Calculating an employee’s 13th-month pay varies highly. Sometimes there will be specific regulations that involve a particular solution to calculate it, but it doesn’t necessarily apply to each industry, so there’s no standard formula. 

Generally speaking, the formula for computing the 13th month’s pay is treating it like an additional month’s salary. 

First, you calculate it by multiplying the employee’s basic monthly salary by the number of months they worked. Next, divide that figure by 12; the result is the employee’s 13th-month pay.

How to Calculate 13th-Month Pay?

Example 1: 

22,000 x 6 = 132,000

132,000 ÷ 12 = 11,000 (13th month)

Example 2: 

25,000 x 12 = 300,000

300,000 ÷ 12 = 25,000 (13th month)

In other circumstances, tax and premiums may be involved. You would have to look at how much you would have paid in taxes if your employee had worked full-time for a full year (12 months). You can do this by taking their total net income and subtracting any deductions or credits they received during that period (health insurance premiums). 

Always remember that calculating an employee’s 13th-month salary varies from country to country and employer to employer. 

Depending on the company, the amount an employee gets from their 13th-month pay can change. Some locations will have different policies, calculations, and even a few deductions from tax. 

If your organization doesn’t hand out 13th-month salaries, other bonuses like extra vacation leaves with allowances, extra sick leaves, or insurance premiums are great alternatives for 13th-month pay.

13th-Month Pay in Different Countries

Here is how the 13th-month pay works in different countries worldwide:

1. Asia 13th-month Pay

The 13th-month pay is considered a “year-end bonus” for employees and highly depends on the employer and the country. It is a common tradition in countries like China, Japan, and Korea. 

For example, employees in China can receive their 13th-month pay during Christmas or before the Chinese New Year. Chinese employers hand employees their bonus in a red envelope, another longtime tradition in the country.

Another example is how some Japanese employers give out the 13th-month pay in June as a summer bonus or in December as a winter bonus. Other companies will hand out a 14th-month pay, depending on how successful the business has been in the past year. 

The 13th-month pay is usually seen as a way to reward workers who have stayed with their current employer for a year or more—especially if they’ve been extra hardworking or loyal to the company. It is also a way to keep employees from leaving their jobs at the end of the year and finding work elsewhere.

2. Philippines 13th-month pay 

The Philippines’ 13th-month pay is a mandatory benefit for all private-sector rank-and-file employees, regardless of their position, designation, employment status, or salary method. It is essentially an extra month’s salary paid annually to employees.

Here’s a breakdown of the key points:

Eligibility for Philippines 13th-month pay

  • All private-sector rank-and-file employees are eligible, provided they have worked for at least one month within the calendar year.
  • Exemptions may apply to managerial or supervisory roles, government employees, and personal service contractors.

Amount of Philippines 13th-month pay

  • The minimum 13th-month pay is equal to one-twelfth of the employee’s total basic salary earned during the year.
  • This means it’s not based on your monthly salary, but rather the sum of all basic salary payments received throughout the year.
  • Bonuses and allowances are not included in the calculation.

Calculation of Philippines 13th-month pay

  • Use the following formula: Total Basic Salary / 12 = 13th Month Pay
  • For example, if your total basic salary for the year is PHP 360,000, your 13th-month pay would be PHP 30,000 (PHP 360,000 / 12).


  • The 13th-month pay must be paid not later than December 24th of each year.
  • It can be paid earlier, but delaying it beyond this date is illegal.
  • For employees who worked for less than a year, the 13th-month pay is pro-rated based on the number of months worked.
  • The 13th-month pay is considered part of your wages and is therefore subject to income tax.

3. Western nations

In countries such as the U.S., Australia, Canada, and Great Britain, there are no laws requiring employers to give out 13th-month pay to employees working for most of the year. 

It is up to each employer whether they want to offer this compensation option, but some companies do so to reward employees for their hard work and loyalty. Most workers receive two to four weeks’ worth of extra salary as an end-of-year bonus.

The 13th-month pay differs from any Christmas bonus that an employee can receive. Some people may consider the two to be the same, so it is a common misconception for many employees. For countries with no mandates, it is important to identify the two, so employees know what they’re getting exactly.

Kinds of 13th-Month Pay

Kinds of 13th-Month Pay

Now that it is established that 13th-month pay varies between employers and countries, you must understand the kinds of 13th-month pay employees can receive. The next section discusses three types.

1. Mandatory pay

Mandatory pay is the amount of money an employer must give employees as part of their annual salary, whether or not they have worked for the entire year.

The mandatory amount varies from country to country, but it is typically around one month’s worth of wages. Sometimes, it can be more than one month’s worth of salary. Countries with mandatory pay include the Philippines, India, Indonesia, and Spain.

2. Customary pay

Unlike mandatory pay, customary pay is where the employee agrees upon a contract or through industry/collective agreements about the exact terms of their 13th-month pay.

It is not a legal requirement for employers, but it can significantly impact a business’ retention since employees expect decent benefits and salaries. Countries with customary pay include Taiwan, Vietnam, Finland, and Croatia.

3. Discretionary pay

Discretionary pay is a type of compensation determined by the employer and can be adjusted based on the needs of the business.

In the U.S., discretionary pay is often used when calculating the 13th-month pay. It allows employers to increase or decrease an employee’s annual salary, depending on their performance during the previous year. Therefore, the 13th-month pay amount changes every year as well.

What Can Employees Do With Their 13th-Month Pay?

What Can Employees Do With Their 13th-Month Pay?

When employees get their 13th-month salary, they usually spend their hard-earned money on a couple of expenditures. Here’s a list of things employees can do with it.

1. Christmas shopping

The 13th-month pay usually comes around December, when people start preparing for Christmas. They can buy presents for their loved ones. They may not have much time between the 13th-month payday and Christmas day, so giving them their bonus earlier is best.

2. Going on vacation

Employees can go on vacation using their 13th-month pay to finance the trip. What better way to treat themselves than with a break?

After many months of work, they may want to put their feet up and relax. Coupled with a few days of paid time off, they can comfortably spend the holiday season in pure leisure. 

3. Getting insurance

Buying insurance is a great option if they want to spend their 13th-month salary productively. It would be best if your employees used their bonuses on insurance because they’ll be able to protect themselves from financial loss in case of an accident or illness.

The important thing here is that these incidents are typically unexpected, meaning that if your employees aren’t prepared for emergencies, it can cost them a big portion of their salary. As an employer, you want to ensure that your employees are stable and prepared for unforeseen events, allowing them to continue working productively.

4. Investing

Using the 13th-month pay for investments is an excellent way to grow money. Many people aim to be financially stable when they get older, so investing in a business can help immensely. However, investing doesn’t mean it has to be about money. 

Your employees can invest in themselves to improve at their job or learn a new skill. Online courses and tools are a worthwhile investment that can benefit them long-term, or they can apply for classes involving sports, arts, or even cooking.

5. Paying off debts

Debts are never fun to deal with, and getting rid of them will ease the burden on employees. These obligations can easily increase if ignored, so using the 13th-month pay to clear any of them will make life much easier.

If all the debts are cleared, that’s the time when they can use their money on other expenditures. 

Understanding the 13th-Month Salary

The 13th-month pay varies between employers and locations. Some have mandatory policies, while others don’t. However, that doesn’t mean employees won’t receive any extra income

You must consider the benefits your business can provide to ensure employee retention doesn’t decrease. It can lead to a negative impact on your image and might deter potential employees from applying to your company.

As mentioned, it is still possible for businesses that are hiring in the U.S. to hand out unexpected perks, so it is still something employees can look forward to.

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