15-day salary in Art. 149 NOT substitute for salary for unexpired portion of contract

PHILAC's alternative argument that its liability is limited to a 15-day salary instead of that corresponding to the unexpired portion of the contract, is not correct. Article 149 of the Labor Code states:

"ART. 149. Indemnity for unjust termination of services - If the period of household is fixed, neither the employer nor the househelper may terminate the contract before the expiration of the term, except for a just cause. if the househelper is unjustly dismissed, he or she shall be paid the compensation already earned plus that for fifteen (15) days by way of indemnity. If the househelper leaves without justifiable reason, he or she shall forfeit any unpaid salary due him or her not exceeding fifteen (15) days."

The 15-day salary is awarded in the form of an indemnity due to unjust dismissal without just cause and notice and before the lapse of the contract term. The amount is in addition to and not a substitute for the househelper's salary for the unexpired portion of the contract. The salary for the unexpired portion of the contract, as a settled rule, is awarded as a result of the violation of her security of tenure under the contract term. [G.R. No. 123354. November 19, 1996]