(Question V, Labor Law, 2018 Bar Exam)
Nelda worked as a chambermaid in Hotel Neverland with a basic wage of PhP560.00 for an eight-hour workday. On Good Friday, she worked for one (1) hour from 10:00 PM to 11:00 PM. Her employer paid her only PhP480.00 for each 8-hour workday, and PhP70.00 for the work done on Good Friday. She sued for underpayment of wages and non-payment of holiday pay and night shift differential pay for working on a Good Friday. Hotel Neverland denied the alleged underpayment, arguing that based on long-standing unwritten tradition, food and lodging costs were partially shouldered by the employer and partially paid for by the employee through salary deduction. According to the employer, such valid deduction caused the payment of Nelda’s wage to be below the prescribed minimum. The hotel also claimed that she was not entitled to holiday pay and night shift differential pay because hotel workers have to work on holidays and may be assigned to work at night.
(a) Does the hotel have valid legal grounds to deduct food and lodging costs from Nelda’s basic salary? (2.5%)
(b) Applying labor standards law, how much should Nelda be paid for work done on Good Friday? Show the computation in your test booklet and encircle your final answer. (2.5%)
(a) As to Nelda, she is not entitled to compensation. While legally married to Sgt. Nemesis, she was not living with him, which is a requirement to make a successful claim.
As to the children with Narda, they are entitled to compensation. They qualify as dependents since they children of the decedent and are minors. Their status as illegitimate children is irrelevant.
(b) Neither Nelda and Narda is entitled to the benefits. While the legal spouse, Nelda is not entitled since she was not living with him, which is a requirement. On the other hand, Narda is not the legal spouse, which is a requirement in addition to cohabitation.
(c) Yes. That the minor children are not fully dependent on Sgt. Nemesis for support is irrelevant. To be entitled, they only need to prove that they are his children and that they are minors. Both these requirements are present in favor of the minor children.
(Notice: The suggested answers simulate those that a bar examinee may provide, and thus specific citations are not provided. Notwithstanding, in the reviewers, the bar exam question is answered under the appropriate topic which discusses the concepts and principles, as well as provide for specific citations. Accordingly, please refer to it on the reviewer or in the Library.)
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