A life-long bachelor mayor in the Philippines is giving single staff extra pay on Tuesday for Valentine’s Day, to show gratitude for the extra hours they work and show that “someone loves them”.
Lonely hearts at General Luna town hall in Quezon province will receive three times their normal daily wage if they have been single for more than five years, Mayor Matt Florido told AFP.
Other footloose and fancy-free staff will get double pay – or the option to take a paid day off.
“I know what they’re going through today, I feel for them,” said Florido, 42, who says he has been single “since birth”.
“On Valentine’s Day no one will give them chocolates, flowers… so we thought of giving them this kind of incentive so they can also feel someone cares for them, someone loves them.”
It is the third year in a row that Florido has handed out bonus payments to singletons in local government.
Of the 289 town hall employees, 37 qualified for the compensation after passing a stringent vetting process to confirm their claimed single status.
Eligible staff were asked questions about when they were last in a relationship, the reasons they broke up, and why they are still single.
The eldest recipient was 64.
“We are just a small town so everyone knows everyone. You can’t hide anything,” said Florido of the pineapple-growing municipality.
Florido said he would finance the 28,000 peso ($511) handout from his own pocket, adding that the money was also an acknowledgement of the demands placed on single staff to work additional hours when needed.
“They have light responsibilities at home so every time we need them to work overtime, when we have relief operations, or lose sleep to serve the town, we can always count on them,” he said.
Florido said staff already romantically attached did not seem to object to their single colleagues getting extra pay.
“Maybe they understand what the single people are going through,” he said.
The payments will be given to singletons at a Valentine’s Day party for all staff on Tuesday evening.
Activities on the night will include dating games.
“Who knows, they might end up getting together,” Florido said.
“Maybe they are already hitting on each other.”