Year-End Bonus of P7.7M Awarded to 80 Employees of Coca-Cola Bottlers Phils., Inc.-Cebu Plant
Regional Arbitration Branch VII of the NLRC awarded the Year-End Bonus amounting to P7,795,974.80 to 80 employees of Coca-Cola Bottlers Phils., Inc.-Cebu Plant.
In a decision dated 09 March 2012, the labor arbiter declares the individual complainants who are members of the Royal Plant Workers Union entitled to year-end bonus starting 2008 and every year thereafter as a matter of company practice, equivalent to an employee’s one-month basic salary.
“The amount of the benefit may vary or the name or type may be different but there existed a singular intention on the part of the respondent company to bestow upon its employees certain benefit over and above those which are included in the CBA. This cannot just be unilaterally withdrawn by respondent company as it had already ripened into a company practice over a long period of time,” the labor arbiter explained.
“We agree that denying complainants of such benefit effective 2008 constituted a diminution of benefits. Diminution of benefits is the unilateral withdrawal by the employer of benefits already enjoyed by the employees,” the labor arbiter expounded citing the case of TSPIC Corporation vs. TSPIC Employees Union (FFW), February 13, 2008.
“Suffice it to say that it would not matter if what respondent company gave were called a “one-time grant/gift/economic assistance” and that it even varied in amount through the years.
“Otherwise, it would be easy to twist the giving of benefit by calling it a different name or set a different amount from the previous years. What is essential is the liberality of respondent company to give year-end benefits to its employees which had been consistently made for a long period of time as to ripen into a company practice,” the labor arbiter added.
Research, Information and Publications Division
National Labor Relations Commission