Case Brief: Trans-Asia Phils. Employees Association (TAPEA) v. NLRC, et al.

G.R. No. 118289 December 13, 1999

TRANS-ASIA PHILS. EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION (TAPEA) and ARNEL GALVEZ, petitioners,
vs.
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, TRANS-ASIA (PHILS.) and ERNESTO S. DE CASTRO, respondents.

Facts:

On 7 July 1988, Trans-Asia Philippines Employees Association (TAPEA) entered into a Collective Bargaining Agreement (“CBA”) with their employer. The CBA provided for, among others, the payment of holiday pay with a stipulation that if an employee is permitted to work on a legal holiday, the said employee will receive a salary equivalent to 200% of the regular daily wage plus a 60% premium pay.

Despite the conclusion of the CBA, however, an issue was still left unresolved with regard to the claim of TAPEA for payment of holiday pay. Since the parties were not able to arrive at an amicable settlement despite the conciliation meetings, TAPEA, led by its President, petitioner Arnie Galvez, filed a complaint for the payment of their holiday pay in arrears. On 18 September 1988, petitioners amended their complaint to include the payment of holiday pay for the duration of the recently concluded CBA (from 1988 to 1991), unfair labor practice, damages and attorney’s fees.

In their Position Paper, TAPEA contended that their claim for holiday pay in arrears is based on the non-inclusion of the same in their monthly pay.

In response, Trans-Asia contended that it has always honored the labor law provisions on holiday pay by incorporating the same in the payment of the monthly salaries of its employees. In support of this claim, Trans-Asia pointed out that it has long been the standing practice of the company to use the divisor of “286” days in computing for its employees’ overtime pay and daily rate deductions for absences.

52 x 44 / 8 = 286 days

Where: 52 = number of weeks in a year

44 = number of work hours per week

8 = number of work hours per day

Trans-Asia further clarified that the “286” days divisor already takes into account the ten (10) regular holidays in a year since it only subtracts from the 365 calendar days the unworked and unpaid 52 Sundays and 26 Saturdays (employees are required to work half-day during Saturdays). Trans-Asia claimed that if the ten (10) regular holidays were not included in the computation of their employees’ monthly salary, the divisor which they would have used would only be 277 days which is arrived at by subtracting 52 Sundays, 26 Saturdays and the 10 legal holidays from 365 calendar days.

Labor Arbiter and NLRC: Dismissed the complaint for lack of merit.

Issue: Whether the Trans-Asia’s use of 286 days as divisor is invalid.

Held:

No, it is not in such a way that the Supreme Court adjusted the divisor.

Trans-Asia’s inclusion of holiday pay in petitioners’ monthly salary is clearly established by its consistent use of the divisor of “286” days in the computation of its employees’ benefits and deductions. The use by Trans-Asia of the “286” days divisor was never disputed by petitioners. A simple application of mathematics would reveal that the ten (10) legal holidays in a year are already accounted for with the use of the said divisor. As explained by Trans-Asia, if one is to deduct the unworked 52 Sundays and 26 Saturdays (derived by dividing 52 Saturdays in half since petitioners are required to work half-day on Saturdays) from the 365 calendar days in a year, the resulting divisor would be 286 days (should actually be 287 days). Since the ten (10) legal holidays were never included in subtracting the unworked and unpaid days in a calendar year, the only logical conclusion would be that the payment for holiday pay is already incorporated into the said divisor.

However, SC held that that there is a need to adjust the divisor used by Trans-Asia to 287 days, instead of only 286 days, in order to properly account for the entirety of regular holidays and special days in a year as prescribed by Executive Order No. 203 in relation to Section 6 of the Rules Implementing Republic Act 6727.

Sec. 1 of Executive Order No. 203 provides:

Sec. 1. Unless otherwise modified by law, order or proclamation, the following regular holidays and special days shall be observed in the country:

A. Regular Holidays

New Year’s Day — January 1

Maundy Thursday — Movable Date

Good Friday — Movable Date

Araw ng Kagitingan — April 9

(Bataan and Corregidor Day)

Labor Day — May 1

Independence Day — June 12

National Heroes Day — Last Sunday of August

Bonifacio Day — November 30

Christmas Day — December 25

Rizal Day — December 30

B. Nationwide Special Days

All Saints Day — November 1

Last Day of the Year — December 31

On the other hand, Section 6 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act No. 6727 provides:

Sec. 6. Suggested Formula in Determining the Equivalent Monthly Statutory Minimum Wage Rates. — Without prejudice from existing company practices, agreements or policies, the following formulas may be used as guides in determining the equivalent monthly statutory minimum wage rates:

xxx xxx xxx

d) For those who do not work and are not considered paid on Saturdays and Sundays or rest days:

Equivalent Monthly = Average Daily Wage Rate x 262 days / 12 months

Where 262 days =

250 days — Ordinary working days

10 days — Regular holidays

2 days — Special days (If considered paid; if actually worked, this is equivalent to 2.6

Based on the above, the proper divisor that should be used for a situation wherein the employees do not work and are not considered paid on Saturdays and Sundays or rest days is 262 days. In the present case, since the employees of Trans-Asia are required to work half-day on Saturdays, 26 days should be added to the divisor of 262 days, thus, resulting to 288 days. However, due to the fact that the rest days of petitioners fall on a Sunday, the number of unworked but paid legal holidays should be reduced to nine (9), instead of ten (10), since one legal holiday under E.O. No. 203 always falls on the last Sunday of August, National Heroes Day. Thus, the divisor that should be used in the present case should be 287 days.

However, the Court notes that if the divisor is increased to 287 days, the resulting daily rate for purposes of overtime pay, holiday pay and conversions of accumulated leaves would be diminished. To illustrate, if an employee receives P8,000.00 as his monthly salary, his daily rate would be P334.49, computed as follows:

P8,000.00 x 12 months / 287 days = P334.49/day

Whereas if the divisor used is only 286 days, the employee’s daily rate would be P335.66, computed as follows:

P8,000.00 x 12 months / 286 days = P335.66/day

Clearly, this muddled situation would be violative of the proscription on the non-diminution of benefits under Section 100 of the Labor Code. On the other hand, the use of the divisor of 287 days would be to the advantage of petitioners if it is used for purposes of computing for deductions due to the employee’s absences. In view of this situation, the Court rules that the adjusted divisor of 287 days should only be used by Trans-Asia for computations which would be advantageous to petitioners (i.e., deductions for absences), and not for computations which would diminish the existing benefits of the employees (i.e., overtime pay, holiday pay and leave conversions.)

SC Decision:

WHEREFORE, the Resolutions of the NLRC, dated 23 November 1993 and 13 September 1994, are hereby AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that Trans-Asia is hereby ordered to adjust its divisor to 287 days and pay the resulting holiday pay in arrears brought about by this adjustment starting from 30 June 1987, the date of effectivity of E.O. No. 203.

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