Several million employees will receive a 13th month’s pay at the end of 2021. At the same time, millions of employees will receive nothing. 

Can’t wait to receive your 13th month pay at the end of the year? You are certainly not alone. So, what exactly determines if your employer pays the thirteenth month or not? And who is entitled to it? Here are answers to 17 FAQs about the 13th month pay.

Salary Check_13th Month Pay


  1. What is the 13th month Pay?

The 13th month Pay is a special bonus that some companies pay their employees in addition to their regular salary. Employees who benefit from it receive 13 months’ salary instead of 12.

The 13th month salary may be paid by the decision of the employer or from the profits of the business. Your employer can freely decide to no longer pay it or to keep paying it. The 13th month is not a bonus provided by law.

13th Month Payment

  1. Is there a difference between an end of year bonus and a 13th month?

The 13th month is an end of year bonus, but an end of year bonus is not necessarily the thirteenth-month pay.

Your performances have no influence on your 13th Month Pay. It should therefore not be confused with a bonus, the amount of which often depends on your own results or those of the company. This is usually decided after an assessment interview and corresponds to a percentage of your salary.

  1. Is the 13th month legally compulsory?

Unfortunately, employers are not legally obligated to pay the thirteenth month. However, this is the subject of specific agreements in certain employment contracts. Check your company policies or local laws in your region to find out if your company is obligated to pay you the 13th-month Salary.

  1. Are there any conditions for the thirteenth month?

The thirteenth month may in fact be subject to certain conditions. Some employers pay this bonus only to employees who were in service on a given date. This condition must of course be in writing.

Did you know that the thirteenth month is only one secondary working condition among the many others that employers can offer? 

  1. Why are employers offering the thirteenth month Pay?

It must be admitted that this payment is an extremely attractive advantage that you will not benefit from all companies everywhere. However, don’t always let yourself be seduced by the thirteenth month. Before accepting that job because of a 13th-month pay, check other working conditions at the company such as the frequency of promotions, career progression, work culture etc. You can never be sure, but it is therefore important not to make the thirteenth month the deciding factor in choosing a particular employer.

Excluded from 13th Month Pay

  1. Can some employees be excluded from the thirteenth-month pay?

No employee can be deprived of the thirteenth month like that. Employers are in fact subject to obligations regarding equal treatment at work. This also includes equal pay.

Most often, all company employees are eligible to be paid, but the 13th month can be reserved for a certain category of employees or those with a minimum of seniority in the company. In any case, the ground for exclusion must not be discriminatory.

For example, the thirteenth-month bonus may only concern employees with executive status, or only employees with at least 3 years of seniority.

In addition, the conditions for granting the bonus may provide that it will be paid to employees present in the company on a certain date. If you leave your business before this date, then you will not be entitled to the bonus for the past year.

  1. Do I also have the right to the 13th month with my fixed-term employment contract?

Your right to equal treatment as an employee also means that you are entitled to a thirteenth month for both kinds of contracts. The law, therefore, prohibits making a difference between a fixed-term or indefinite contract.

However, the amount of your thirteenth-month pay may be different, since it often corresponds to a percentage of your salary. In addition, some employers also include certain conditions concerning the end-of-year bonus in the employment contract, such as a minimum number of months within the company, for example.

Important: when, due to an agreement, the thirteenth-month bonus is granted to company employees working on a permanent contract, it must also be granted to employees hired on a fixed-term contract. Apart from statutory attribution conditions or seniority, the employer cannot make a difference and must provide all employees working with the same benefits.

13th Month Calendar

  1. Am I entitled to my thirteenth month if I am hired during the year or if I resign?

Did you start working for a new employer in the middle of the year? In most cases, this will affect your part of the thirteenth month. The same goes for those who leave a company during the year: they often receive their thirteenth month in December of the same year. However, this is not an obligation for the employer, so check the contents of your employment contract.

If you leave the company or if you are laid off during the year, you can receive a 13th-month pay in proportion to the time spent. Sometimes the 13th month is only paid to employees who are on staff at December 31.

For example: if your employment contract provides that the bonus is paid to employees present on December 31 and if you have been dismissed or if you have resigned at the beginning of December, then you cannot lay claim to the thirteenth-month pay as part of your severance pay.

  1. Why am I getting less on my thirteenth month than on my regular salary?

Are you entitled to a thirteenth month and then you receive an additional month’s salary on your gross basis? Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean you’re keeping the same net amount as usual. This is because you pay more tax in a thirteenth month (there is a schedule for special pay with a higher tax rate). In addition, the thirteenth month is not included in your employer’s pension plan. You, therefore, do not pay any contribution to this amount.

Good to know:

The payment of a thirteenth-month bonus can also be provided for in an employee’s employment contract. In this case, it is no longer an exceptional bonus, but a part of an employer’s salary which the employer must pay. If, for example, the employee leaves the company during the year, the employer will have to pay him the thirteenth month in proportion to the time worked.
Our Advice: To know the applicable law within your company, refer to the collective agreement and, if your company has concluded one, to the company agreements. Indeed, the latter can restrict the scope of the employees benefiting from the thirteenth-month bonus even when this bonus is provided for by a broader collective agreement.

13th Month Calculator

  1. How do I calculate the amount for my thirteenth month?

Want to know exactly how your thirteenth month is breaking down and how much you will actually be earning? Better to ask your employer since each company calculates it differently.

  1. When is the thirteenth month paid?

Usually, the thirteenth month is paid in December, almost always at the same time as the regular salary. Just in time for Christmas gifts and the ski vacation! The payment can also be made in January or February at the latest.

  1. Is the thirteenth month always a good thing?

Of Course! It sure looks like a nice gift from your employer. And, in most cases it is. However, many companies use the thirteenth month to compensate for a monthly salary that is too low.

Sad for not getting 13th Month Pay

  1. What if I don’t get the Thirteenth Month because the business is performing badly?

It can happen: the company’s results are below expectations, and your employer decides not to pay the thirteenth month. Some contracts indeed mention that the thirteenth month is subject to the company’s results. But if this condition is not explicitly mentioned, you are legally entitled to your thirteenth month.

  1. The Thirteenth month and COVID-19

An employer in financial difficulties because of Covid-19 may decrease the thirteenth-month bonus because this is not part of the elements of remuneration contained in the employment contract. The employer may also reduce the 13th month without the employee’s consent.  It most often results from an interpretation of the Company Policies. As a result, it can be unilaterally lowered by the employer, without the employee’s consent.

  1. What is the impact of sick leave on the thirteenth month?

The amount you receive as your 13th month may be affected if the pay is subject to your presence and actual working time at the company. It all depends on the policy that governs the 13th month in your company.  If the policy is silent on the matter, the sick leave will have no impact on the 13th month.

  1. I left the company during the year, can I still receive my 13th month from the company?

If the bonus is conditional on your time in the company, you will receive the pay in proportion to your time in attendance. However, if the payment of the thirteenth month is subject to the employee’s presence in the company at a given date, and you are still in the workforce of the company on that date, you are entitled to receive the thirteenth month.

READ ALSO:12 Kickass Tips for Better Productivity at Work.

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