Salary deductions

My father is a security officer. During one of his night shift rounds as he was driving the company car, he lost control and crashed into the gate of the client. I am relieved my father is okay, but the car and gate were damaged. I was told the company had to pay P50,000 to have the car and the gate repaired. The company is now making my father pay back the P50,000 so my father signed the authority to deduct from his salary P6,250 every payday on the 15th and on the 30th of the month for four months.

Our family felt the burden of the salary deductions after the first month. My father’s salary is P25,000 per month. After deductions, around P12,500 only remains. My father asked for a reduction of the bi-monthly deduction but the HR officer said they cannot reduce the next installments anymore because my father already signed the authority to deduct and the P6,250 deduction every pay day is automatic. Can we demand to change the payment terms in the authority to deduct?

Paul

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Dear Paul,

According to Department of Labor and Employment Labor Advisory 11, Series of 2014 — Non-Interference in the Disposal of Wages and Allowable Deductions, deductions from employees to answer for reimbursement of damage on tools, materials, or equipment supplied by the employer is allowed in private security agencies as a recognized and reasonable industry practice given the nature of the service/business. However, for deductions of such nature to be valid, the following conditions must be observed:

1. The employee concerned is clearly shown to be responsible for the loss or damage; 2. The employee is given a reasonable opportunity to show cause why deductions should not be made; 3. The amount of such deduction is fair and reasonable and shall not exceed the actual loss or damage; and 4. The deduction from the wages of the employee does not exceed 20 percent of the employee’s wages in a week.

If it was clearly established that your father was responsible for the damage to the company car and the gate after he was given the chance to explain; and the total amount of the salary deductions are not more than the actual damage, the salary deductions may be valid, subject to the fourth condition mentioned above.

With regard to the fourth condition, you mentioned that your father’s salary deduction is P6,250 every payday or every two weeks, leaving him with only around P12,250 as take-home pay. The salary deduction amounts to P3,125 a week. P3,125 is 50 percent of P6,250.

The DoLE Labor Advisory provides that for the deduction to be valid, the deduction should not exceed 20 percent of the employee’s wages in a week. Since your father’s company is deducting more than double what the DoLE Labor Advisory allows, your father can demand that the salary deductions be reduced to the maximum of P1,500 a week or P3,000 only every payout, and change the authority to deduct accordingly.

I hope that I was able to help you based on the facts you shared.

Atty. Vlad del Rosario

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