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May a School Head Withhold Teacher’s Salary?

A member of TeacherPH Facebook Group posted her sentiment about a school head withholding her salary and some benefits because of her failure to submit a certain SBM report. Is the school head’s action valid?

Article 116 of the Labor Code, as amended, provides, as follows:

“ART. 116. Withholding of wages and kickbacks prohibited. It shall be unlawful for any person, directly or indirectly, to withhold any amount from the wages (and benefits) of a worker or induce him to give up any part of his wages by force, stealth, intimidation, threat or by any other means whatsoever without the worker’s consent.”

The above provision is clear and needs no further elucidation. Indeed, an agency has no legal authority to withhold an employee’s salary. What an employee has worked for, his employer must pay. (Cf. Azucena, C.A., Everyone’s Labor Code, 2001 Edition at 90)

Regarding the situation of our member, was she not singled out or discriminated when the school head ordered the payroll clerk of their school to exclude her name in the payroll?

In preparing a payroll, is the SBM report a necessary requirement to process her salary?

Is a school clearance a requirement to teachers who are NOT yet retiring or transferring for them to claim their wages in April or May?

If the answers are NO, then the school head may be committing grave abuse of authority.

Grave abuse of authority or oppression is a grave offense and Dismissal is the corresponding penalty.

I am not promoting teachers’ non-compliance. Of course, we should be responsible to submit whatever is required of us unless we wish to be complained of insubordination. However, school heads have no legal rights to discipline their subordinates by withholding their salaries or benefit. A memorandum to the erring teacher could have been issued instead.

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Margarita Lucero Galias

Margarita L. Galias began her career in education as a high school math and physics teacher in Immanuel Lutheran High School in Malabon City and Manila Central University, Caloocan City before serving as a public school teacher in Sorsogon City in 1995. She was a university scholar and graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in Education, major in Math-Physics from De La Salle Araneta University. She also holds a master’s degree in Management, major in Administration and Supervision from Sorsogon State College. She is now currently employed in Mercedes B. Peralta Senior High School as a classroom teacher and a guidance counselor designate.

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