It’s that time of the year when I get a LOT of questions about the 13th month. I’ll try to answer as many as I can fit into this email. But if you want more information, we have a detailed blog post explaining the 13 month at

“Very basic question. Is there any specific time when the 13th month should be paid? I was thinking of paying it at the end of January but perhaps it can be more useful for them before the Christmas Celebration? When is the best time to pay the 13th month? Dec 1? Dec 31? Right before Christmas?”

The 13th month is to be paid in December.  The earlier in the month the better.

Also, it’s not considered a Christmas bonus.  It’s just part of their annual salary (they budget for it).  If you want to give a Christmas bonus that’s separate and always very much appreciated.

How do you compute for 13th month?”

The 13th month is 1 month’s salary divided by 12 multiplied by the number of months they have worked for you that year.

If your OFS has been working for you for at least a year, their 13th month is 1 month’s salary. If your OFS has been working for you for less than a year (let’s say 6 months), their 13th month would be half her salary.

To make things easier, add up the total you paid them through the year and divide by 12.

I hired my VA a couple of months ago (September) and she just finished her training period. Do I start counting the months to compute her 13th month? When I hired her or when she finished her training?

It’s mostly up to you. You can start when you hired her or when the training period has ended.

The important thing is both of you know when you started counting.
Typically though, it starts when training is finished.

I had to let go of my VA this year. Should I still give her a 13th month bonus?

If they’ve worked for you for more than 6 months, yes. In the Philippines, that’s the practice for most companies.  Otherwise, you don’t need to.

“I pay my VA by the hour or on a per project basis, do I need to give them a 13th month?

You don’t have to but it’s still a good idea.

For us, we:
1. always pay the 13th month
2. also give a Christmas bonus.  $25-$50.


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