Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Retirement benefits; RA 7641 - G.R. No. 161787

G.R. No. 161787


"x x x.


Respondent entitled to retirement benefits

from the petitioners

Article 287 of the Labor Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 7641, provides:

Article 287. Retirement. – Any employee may be retired upon reaching the retirement age established in the collective bargaining agreement or other applicable employment contract.

In case of retirement, the employee shall be entitled to receive such retirement benefits as he may have earned under existing laws and any collective bargaining agreement and other agreements; Provided, however, That an employee’s retirement benefits under any collective bargaining and other agreements shall not be less than those provided herein.

In the absence of a retirement plan or agreement providing for retirement benefits of employees in the establishment, an employee upon reaching the age of sixty (60) years or more, but not beyond sixty-five (65) years which is hereby declared the compulsory retirement age, who has served at least five (5) years in the said establishment, may retire and shall be entitled to retirement pay equivalent to at least one-half (1/2) month salary for every year of service, a fraction of at least six (6) months being considered as one whole year.

Unless the parties provide for broader inclusions, the term one-half (1/2) month salary shall mean fifteen (15) days plus one-twelfth (1/12) of the 13th month pay and the cash equivalent of not more than five (5) days of service incentive leaves.

Retail, service and agricultural establishments or operations employing not more than ten (10) employees or workers are exempted from the coverage of this provision.

Violation of this provision is hereby declared unlawful and subject to the penal provisions provided under Article 288 of this Code.

Was Rogelio entitled to the retirement benefits under Article 287 of the Labor Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 7641?

The CA held so in its decision, to wit:

Having reached the conclusion that petitioner was an employee of the respondents from 1950 to March 17, 1997, and considering his uncontroverted allegation that in the Ibajay branch office where he was assigned, respondents employed no less than 12 workers at said later date, thus affording private respondents no relief from the duty of providing retirement benefits to their employees, we see no reason why petitioner should not be entitled to the retirement benefits as provided for under Article 287 of the Labor Code, as amended. The beneficent provisions of said law, as applied in Oro Enterprises Inc. v. NLRC, is apart from the retirement benefits that can be claimed by a qualified employee under the social security law. Attorney’s fees are also granted to the petitioner. But the monetary benefits claimed by petitioner cannot be granted on the basis of the evidence at hand.[26]

We concur with the CA’s holding. The third paragraph of the aforequoted provision of the Labor Code entitled Rogelio to retirement benefits as a necessary consequence of the finding that Rogelio was an employee of MSDC and Chan. Indeed, there should be little, if any, doubt that the benefits under Republic Act No. 7641, which was enacted as a labor protection measure and as a curative statute to respond, in part at least, to the financial well-being of workers during their twilight years soon following their life of labor, can be extended not only from the date of its enactment but retroactively to the time the employment contracts started.[27]

x x x."