2023 barangay and SK elections

No overtime pay for teachers who served extra hours on barangay election day

Dwight de Leon

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No overtime pay for teachers who served extra hours on barangay election day

SUFFRAGE. Election officers count the votes in the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan polls at the Fort Bonifacio High School in Taguig City, on October 30, 2023.

Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

The Comelec says it cannot provide extra pay to teachers who worked overtime because of budget constraints. It also cites a government memo that says only employees of an agency are entitled to OT pay.

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said it would not be able to provide additional pay to teachers who worked overtime during the 2023 barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan polls.

“In as much as we would like to give, there is this joint circular between the Commission on Audit and the Department of Budget and Management, which provides that only employees of an agency are entitled to claim overtime,” Comelec Chairman George Garcia explained on Thursday, November 2.

“The teachers who served as electoral board members are not employees of Comelec. Moreover, the budget provided to us did not provide for such an item,” he added.

Progressive group Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) wrote to Garcia on Tuesday, October 31, asking the poll body to provide overtime pay to teachers who served in the elections for more than a day.

“In previous elections, the Comelec has granted the same request. Even in the 2022 national and local elections, the Comelec allocated overtime pay due to delays [in the voting]. This is also consistent with the policy of additional compensation for electoral boards assigned to precincts conducting a pilot test of early voting for the vulnerable sectors,” TDC chairperson Benjo Basas said.

No overtime pay for teachers who served extra hours on barangay election day

The honoraria for poll workers for the 2023 barangay polls were nearly doubled to P10,000, P9,000, and P8,000, for the electoral board chair, EB member, and Department of Education supervisor official (DESO), respectively, as the Comelec tapped into its savings.

In past elections, poll workers’ salaries for the three posts were P6,000, P5,000, and P4,000, respectively, in accordance with the Election Service Reform Act.

TDC also reiterated their call to exempt teachers from paying a 20% withholding tax on their honoraria and allowances, resulting in a deduction from their take-home pay.

“While we acknowledge the increase in honoraria to P10,000 for the EB chairman and P9,000 for the members, the 20% tax will reduce the actual amounts to P8,000 and P7,200, respectively. The supposed pay hike granted by the government to our teachers was also immediately taken in the form of tax,” Basas said.

“We are aware that the Comelec does not have authority over tax exemptions. Therefore, we will continue to lobby for this in Congress and hope that the president will not veto it this time,” he added. – Rappler.com

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Dwight de Leon

Dwight de Leon is a multimedia reporter who covers President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the Malacañang, and the Commission on Elections for Rappler.