Covid-19: Holiday Pay, Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ)

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Employees are entitled to holiday pay during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

1. The ECQ is a force majeure which resulted in the temporary work suspension of affected establishments.

2. In a force majeure, obligations are merely suspended.

For instance, a person’s obligation to deliver a package will be suspended if there is a Signal No. 5 typhoon.

In the case of holiday pay, the obligation to pay was merely suspended due to the ECQ. In the words of relevant Labor Advisories, the obligation may be “deferred”, which is another word for suspended.

3. Once the force majeure passes, the obligation resumes.

In our same example, the person is required to perform the obligation to deliver the package once the typhoon passes.

The same goes for holiday pay. The obligation to pay it was merely suspended. It resumes once the force majeure passes.

4. Consistent with the above analysis, related Labor Advisories merely allowed the deferment (i.e. suspension) of the payment of holiday pay. Once the business resumes normal operations, the obligation to pay holiday resumes.

There is and there was no exemption nor exclusion of holiday payment.

5. This is without prejudice to establishments which have permanently (and not just temporarily) closed before the happening of a holiday.

If they have legally and properly ceased operations completely, the obligation to employees have likewise stopped, including payment of holiday pay.