Financial assistance, in certain cases, is given to employees under the principle of social justice.

In the following case, the Supreme Court granted the same in the following manner:

Zenaida Paz vs. Northern Tobacco Redrying, Inc., and/or Angelo Ang
G.R. No. 199554, February 18, 2015


Northern Tobacco Redrying Co., Inc. (NTRCI), a flue-curing and redrying of tobacco leaves business, employs approximately 100 employees with seasonal workers “tasked to sort, process, store and transport tobacco leaves during the tobacco season of March to September.”

NTRCI hired Zenaida Paz (Paz) sometime in 1974 as a seasonal sorter, paid ­185.00 daily. NTRCI regularly re-hired her every tobacco season since then. She signed a seasonal job contract at the start of her employment and a pro-forma application letter prepared by NTRCI in order to qualify for the next season.

On May 18, 2003, Paz was 63 years old when NTRCI informed her that she was considered retired under company policy. A year later, NTRCI told her she would receive ­12,000.00 as retirement pay.

Paz, with two other complainants, filed a Complaint for illegal dismissal against NTRCI. She amended her Complaint into a Complaint for payment of retirement benefits, damages, and attorney’s fees as ­12,000.00 seemed inadequate for her 29 years of service.

TRCI countered that no Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) existed between NTRCI and its workers. Thus, it computed the retirement pay of its seasonal workers based on Article 287 of the Labor Code.

NTRCI raised the requirement of at least six months of service a year for that year to be considered in the retirement pay computation. It claimed that Paz only worked for at least six months in 1995, 1999, and 2000 out of the 29 years she rendered service. Thus, Paz’s retirement pay amounted to ­12,487.50 after multiplying her ­185.00 daily salary by 22½ working days in a month, for three years.

LA Ruling:

The Labor Arbiter “[c]onfirm[ed] that the correct retirement pay of Zenaida M. Paz [was] ­12,487.50.

NLRC Ruling:

The National Labor Relations Commission modified the Labor Arbiter’s Decision. It likewise denied reconsideration.

CA Ruling:

The Court of Appeals dismissed the Petition and modified the National Labor Relations Commission’s Decision in that “financial assistance is awarded to Zenaida Paz in the amount of ­60,356.25


Whether or not a seasonal employee who retired with low retirement pay benefit is entitled to financial

SC Ruling:

The SC affirmed the decision of the CA.

The amount of ­12,487.50 is indeed too meager to support petitioner Paz who has become old, weak, and unable to find employment. Republic Act No. 7641 is a social legislation with the purpose of “providing for the retiree’s sustenance and hopefully even comfort, when he [or she] no longer has the stamina to continue earning his [or her] livelihood.”

The SC has awarded financial assistance “as a measure of social justice [in] exceptional circumstances, and as an equitable concession.

Petitioner Paz’s circumstances “indubitably merit equitable concessions, via the principle of ‘compassionate justice’ for the working class.

Paz worked for respondent NTRCI for close to three decades. She had no record of any malfeasance or violation of company rules in her long years of service. Her advanced age has rendered her weak and lessened her employment opportunities.

Learn more about instances when financial assistance is awarded in the book Guide to Valid Dismissal of Employees Second Edition

Labor law determinations are not only secundum rationem (note: according to reason) but also secundum caritatem (note: according to heart).”

The award of ­60,356.25 as financial assistance will serve its purpose in providing petitioner Paz sustenance and comfort after her long years of service.

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