Thursday, December 3, 2020

Labor group hoping Senate will act swiftly on Security of Tenure Bill

For the Nagkaisa Labor Coalition, House Bill 7036 or the Security of Tenure (SOT) Bill, is already a small step in fighting contractualization.

Nagkaisa chairperson Atty. Sonny Matula said the fight against contractualization remains a work in progress and they appreciate the positive provisions of the bill that advance the workers’ interest.

The group cited the bill’s recognition of regular employment as a norm and disallows fixed-term employment except in the cases of overseas Filipino workers, workers on probation, relievers who are temporary replacements of absent regular employees whose engagements shall not exceed six months, project employees, and seasonal employees.

“This is a big step towards addressing the practice of “555” or ‘endo,'” said Matula.

The group also welcomed the bill’s guarantee that the rights and benefits of relievers, project and seasonal employees shall be at par with regular employees.

Nagkaisa also cited the increase on the administrative fine on violators in the bill.

“A penalty of P30,000 for each victim employee by businesses engaging in end-of-contract arrangements and labor-contracting, while still small, remains an improvement over current law where a negligible P1,000 to P10,000 fine may be imposed regardless of the number of victimized employees,” said Matula.

The new definition of prohibited “labor only contracting” in the bill, Nagkaisa said, further reduces the business space for unscrupulous employers.

“We welcome this development with caution and we continue to lobby missing provisions which are needed to effectively address the widespread contractualization that abuses millions of workers,” Matula said.

Nagkaisa expressed hope that the Senate will now act and act with dispatch to adopt its own version. - by Leslie Ann Aquino

It also suggested the inclusion in the Senate of such provisions as: the finding of labor-only contracting and the order of regularization of the regional director shall be immediately executory; the termination of employees while the appeal on his or her regularization is pending shall automatically effect the finality of his or regular employment and result to the dismissal of the appeal.

HB 7036, which seeks to amend PD 442 or the Labor Code of the Philippines, passed on final reading on December 1. - by Leslie Ann Aquino

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