What is

13th Month Pay


Thirteenth-month pay is a mandatory or optional bonus common in many countries, particularly in Latin America. Some countries also institute a 14th-month bonus.

Did you know that many countries in the world mandate more than just 12 monthly salaries? Many labor codes mandate a thirteenth-month salary — and some even include a fourteenth-month salary.

These are mandatory bonuses that amount to an extra month or two of compensation. Generally, they are paid at the end of their calendar year to help employees with holiday expenses.

However, different regions and countries have varying legislation around the 13th-month pay. Let’s take a closer look.

Is 13th Month Pay Mandatory?

In many countries, 13th-month pay is obligatory. You must factor it into your employees' annual salary. In some places, employment law also dictates a 14th-month salary. This should be part of the total cost of hiring an employee.

There are different regulations on this type of payment that vary from country to country. Usually, they are paid at the end of the calendar year. 

Of course, there are also customary holiday bonuses. Depending on the country, a basic salary required by law may not include these extra payments. However, employees may expect to receive one based on the local work culture.

Who Receives 13th Month Pay?

Typically, full-time employees are eligible for the 13th month’s pay. Part-time staff and independent contractors will usually not receive this bonus. However, it’s important to check the local legislature to make sure.

In most cases, workers will receive a full month’s bonus upon working the entire twelve months in the preceding year. If they worked for a shorter period, they’ll receive a prorated amount. For example, employees who work for six months will get half the bonus. Again, each country’s laws may differ in this respect.

Also, employees who have taken approved sick leave or maternity leave will normally be eligible to receive total mandatory bonuses.

Which Countries Mandate 13th Month Pay?

Dozens of countries around the world mandate 13th-month pay. A few also require 14th-month pay. Several others have the culture of paying an end-of-year bonus which often amounts to one month’s pay.

Latin America

13th-month bonuses, known as “el aguinaldo”, are extremely common in Latin American countries. In fact, Chile is the only country in the region where the bonus is not legally mandated. 

  • Argentina: Employers pay half the 13th-month bonus by June 30th and the other half by December 18th. The bonus is based on the highest salary in the past six months.
  • Bolivia: Employees receive an extra month’s pay at the end of the calendar year. If Bolivia’s GDP reaches above 4.5%, employers must also pay a 14th-month salary.
  • Brazil: Half of the aguinaldo is paid by November 30th, and the other half by December 30th.
  • Colombia: Half of the bonus is paid in the first half of June, and the other half in the first twenty days of December.
  • Costa Rica: The thirteenth-month salary is paid in the first twenty days of December.
  • Dominican Republic: Employers must pay the bonus by December 20th.
  • Ecuador: Employees receive a 15% bonus on top of their salary. However, the total amount can’t be above 24 times the standard minimum wage. The payment is in installments or as a lump sum.
  • El Salvador: The aguinaldo depends on tenure. It is paid by December 20th of each year.
  • Guatemala: Employers must pay a thirteenth and fourteenth-month salary. One is paid in July and the other in December.
  • Honduras: The same as Guatemala.
  • Mexico: The annual bonus amounts to 15 days of salary. Even so, many employers pay a higher bonus.
  • Nicaragua: Employees receive their 13th-month bonus by December 10th.
  • Panama: Employees receive the aguinaldo in three installments, in April, August, and December.
  • Paraguay: Like other countries in the region, the bonus is paid by the end of December.
  • Peru: Employers here must pay both 13th and 14th-month salaries.
  • Puerto Rico: Here, end-of-year bonuses amount to 2% of the employee's salary, up to a maximum of US $300.
  • Uruguay: Half of the bonus is paid in June and the other half in December.
  • Venezuela: Employees receive the aguinaldo at the end of the calendar year. ‍

Most European countries don’t require 13th and 14th-month salaries by law. There are, however, many countries where it is customary to pay this bonus. This includes places like Croatia, Germany, and Switzerland.  

  • Austria: Employers must pay a 13th and 14th-month salary, in June and at the end of November, respectively.
  • Belgium: Most employees receive at least a 13th-month bonus.
  • Greece: Greek employees receive both a 13th and 14th-month salary. One is paid at the end of the year and the other one is split in half and paid at Easter and in the summer.
  • Portugal: Employers in Portugal must pay a thirteenth and fourteenth-month bonus, in the summer and in the winter, respectively.
  • Spain: Like Portugal, Spain mandates both 13th and 14th-month salaries. They are also usually paid in July and December.
The Middle East

There are no countries in the region that legally require a 13th or 14th-month bonus. However, performance-based bonuses are customary in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.


Just like in the Middle East, 13th and 14th-month bonuses are rare in Africa. Of the 54 countries on the continent, only Angola mandates both a 13th and 14th-month bonus. It is also common to offer a performance-based bonus to employees in Nigeria and South Africa.  


In most countries in Asia, it is not mandatory to pay a 13th-month salary. However, in many, it is customary or worked into employment contracts.

For example, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Vietnam employees frequently receive performance-based bonuses around the Lunar New Year. It is also customary to see performance-based bonuses in Japan and Malaysia.

  • India: Employers must pay a 13th-month salary four months before the end of the company’s fiscal year.
  • Indonesia: Another country in Asia that mandates a thirteenth-month salary is Indonesia. Employees receive the bonus one week before their religious holidays. The country is very diverse, so the date varies according to the employee’s beliefs.
  • The Philippines: All private sector employees in the Philippines receive a thirteenth-month bonus, even if they only worked for one month.
  • Singapore: There is no requirement to pay a 13th-month bonus. However, the Singaporean Government encourages employers to provide what they call an Annual Wage Supplement (AWS), which is equivalent to one month of salary. ‍

Ensure Payroll Compliance with Borderless

It can be challenging to navigate the different labor laws across the world. Partnering with an Employer of Record (EOR), like Borderless, will simplify the process. We can help you hire employees in 170+ countries around the world without the legal hassle.

Book a demo today.