Seasonal employees as provided under Article 280 [now Article 295] of the Labor Code, as amended are those who are hired with scope of employment or duration has been agreed upon by the parties. While this is an exception to the rule on regular employment, Supreme Court decisions recognize that they can become regular seasonal employees.

Thus, the Supreme Court held in the following case, to wit:

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 an employee who served intermittently as a sorter in flue-curing and redrying of tobacco leaves can be considered as regular seasonal employee

SC Ruling:

The SC affirmed the decision of the CA.

The SC held that jurisprudence also recognizes the status of regular seasonal employees.

In Hacienda Fatima vs. National Federation of Sugarcane Workers-Food and General Trade the SC also considered complainants as regular employees since they performed the same tasks every season for several years.


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The services petitioner Paz performed as a sorter were necessary and indispensable to respondent NTRCI’s business of flue-curing and redrying tobacco leaves.

She was also regularly rehired as a sorter during the tobacco seasons for 29 years since 1974.

These considerations taken together allowed the conclusion that petitioner Paz was a regular seasonal employee, entitled to rights under Article 279 of the Labor Code.


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