The labour ministry on Thursday said that 13th salary provisions, when part of a collective agreement, personal contract or company practice, constitute an integral part of an employee’s salary.

“Hence, the failure to pay 13th salaries to employees constitutes a violation of the law,” the ministry said in a statement.

Additionally, it said that, aside from the rights granted to employees for civil claims to ensure payment, the failure to pay 13th salaries “amounts to a criminal offence, which could lead to the employer’s prosecution.”

“As per the law, if an employer is convicted, penalties may include imprisonment for up to six months, a fine of up to €15,000, or both,” the labour ministry’s statement said.

Furthermore, it added that court has the authority to award employees the amounts equivalent to the 13th salary that are owed to them.