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Attorneys of the Philippines Legal News

Welcome to our legal news pages. Here is where we provide updates about what's happening in Philippines legal news, and publish helpful articles and tips for Pinoys researching legal matters.

Suspended Employee Is Not Entitled To Pay

An employee who has been cited for violating the code of conduct will be placed under preventive suspension while the investigation is ongoing. One question raised is if the suspended employee will still receive his/her salary during the suspension. Preventive suspension temporarily removes an employee who has violated company rules from his or her position. An employer has the right to suspend an employee while the incident is still being investigated. This is in accordance with the Omnibus Rules Implementing the Labor Code of the Philippines. 

Section 8. Preventive suspension. The employer may place the worker concerned under preventive suspension only if his continued employment poses a serious and imminent threat to the life or property of the employer or of his co-workers.

Section 9. Period of suspension. No preventive suspension shall last longer than thirty (30) days. The employer shall thereafter reinstate the worker in his former or in a substantially equivalent position or the employer may extend the period of suspension provided that during the period of extension, he pays the wages and other benefits due to the worker. In such case, the worker shall not be bound to reimburse the amount paid to him during the extension if the employer decides, after completion of the hearing, to dismiss the worker.

Under the rule, the maximum period of preventive suspension is 30 days. The employee must be reinstated to his former position, but if the employer does not want to reinstate the employee, they can choose to extend the suspension period provided the employer agrees to pay the wages and other benefits during the entire period of extension. 

It must also be noted that a suspended employee is not entitled to payment of wages. However, the validity of the suspension must also be taken into account. In case the suspension has been perceived to be illegal or invalid, the employee will still be entitled to payment of wages during the entire duration of the illegal suspension. 

Authorized Causes For The Dismissal Of An Employee

The illegal dismissal of an employee is one of the most common labor cases filed in the Philippines. Termination of employment should undergo due process. The processes include notice of dismissal, which requires employers to furnish a written notice stating grounds for the employees' dismissal. The employee will be given a chance to answer the allegations within a reasonable period. Once the employer receives the answer from the employee, the employer may provide an opportunity to the employee to defend themselves. After the hearing, the notice of decision will be released stating reasons for the dismissal. The notice of decision will be in writing. The final step will be the submission of the  report on dismissal to the regional office. 

Just Causes For The Dismissal Of An Employee

As stated under 282 of the Labor Code, an employer has the right to terminate an employment for the following reasons:

(a) Serious misconduct or willful disobedience by the employee of the lawful orders of his employer or representative in connection with his work;

(b) Gross and habitual neglect by the employee of his duties;

(c) Fraud or willful breach by the employee of the trust reposed in him by his employer or duly authorized representative;

(d) Commission of a crime or offense by the employee against the person of his employer or any immediate member of his family or his duly authorized representatives; and

(e) Other causes analogous to the foregoing.

Aside from the aforementioned causes, employment may also be terminated due to  "installation of labor-saving devices, redundancy, retrenchment to prevent losses or the closing or cessation of operation of the establishment or undertaking unless the closing is for the purpose of circumventing the provisions of this Title, by serving a written notice on the workers and the Ministry of Labor and Employment at least one (1) month before the intended date thereof. In case of termination due to the installation of labor-saving devices or redundancy, the worker affected thereby shall be entitled to a separation pay equivalent to at least his one (1) month pay or to at least one (1) month pay for every year of service, whichever is higher. In case of retrenchment to prevent losses and in cases of closures or cessation of operations of establishment or undertaking not due to serious business losses or financial reverses, the separation pay shall be equivalent to one (1) month pay or at least one-half (1/2) month pay for every year of service, whichever is higher. A fraction of at least six (6) months shall be considered one (1) whole year."

Dismissed employees are not entitled to separation pay if the cause for dismissal falls under any of the five circumstances stated under Article 282. However, if termination of employment was due to the installation of labor-saving devices or redundancy, the employee shall be entitled to a separation pay. 

Are Dismissed Workers Entitled To Certificate Of Employment?

A certificate of employment (COE) is proof of previous employment. Whether you have resigned or have been terminated, you are still entitled to certificates of employment. Some companies require applicants to secure a COE as part of the pre-employment process.  Under Section 10, Rule 14, Book 5 of the Labor Code, dismissed workers are entitled to request or receive a certificate from his/her employer. The certificate shall specify the dates of the employee's engagement and termination, types of work on which he/she was employed. You need to be cleared by the company before you can request for a COE.  Aside from refusal to provide COE to dismissed workers, DOLE will also entertain complaints on unfair labor practices:

UNFAIR LABOR PRACTICES OF EMPLOYERS

Art. 248. Unfair labor practices of employers. It shall be unlawful for an employer to commit any of the following unfair labor practice:

  1. To interfere with, restrain or coerce employees in the exercise of their right to self-organization;
  2. To require as a condition of employment that a person or an employee shall not join a labor organization or shall withdraw from one to which he belongs;
  3. To contract out services or functions being performed by union members when such will interfere with, restrain or coerce employees in the exercise of their rights to self-organization;
  4. To initiate, dominate, assist or otherwise interfere with the formation or administration of any labor organization, including the giving of financial or other support to it or its organizers or supporters;
  5. To discriminate in regard to wages, hours of work and other terms and conditions of employment in order to encourage or discourage membership in any labor organization. Nothing in this Code or in any other law shall stop the parties from requiring membership in a recognized collective bargaining agent as a condition for employment, except those employees who are already members of another union at the time of the signing of the collective bargaining agreement. Employees of an appropriate bargaining unit who are not members of the recognized collective bargaining agent may be assessed a reasonable fee equivalent to the dues and other fees paid by members of the recognized collective bargaining agent, if such non-union members accept the benefits under the collective bargaining agreement: Provided, that the individual authorization required under Article 242, paragraph (o) of this Code shall not apply to the non-members of the recognized collective bargaining agent;
  6. To dismiss, discharge or otherwise prejudice or discriminate against an employee for having given or being about to give testimony under this Code;
  7. To violate the duty to bargain collectively as prescribed by this Code;
  8. To pay negotiation or attorney’s fees to the union or its officers or agents as part of the settlement of any issue in collective bargaining or any other dispute; or
  9. To violate a collective bargaining agreement.

The provisions of the preceding paragraph notwithstanding, only the officers and agents of corporations, associations or partnerships who have actually participated in, authorized or ratified unfair labor practices shall be held criminally liable. (As amended by Batas Pambansa Bilang 130, August 21, 1981)

What Are The Prohibitions Of Wages?

Both employers and employees must be aware of prohibitions regarding wages including the time and form of payment. Many salary disputes happen because the law on minimum wage rates are not properly discussed. Everything you need to know about wage rates is explained on the Labor Code of the Philippines. 

MINIMUM WAGE RATES

Art. 99. Regional minimum wages. The minimum wage rates for agricultural and non-agricultural employees and workers in each and every region of the country shall be those prescribed by the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards. (As amended by Section 3, Republic Act No. 6727, June 9, 1989).

Art. 100. Prohibition against elimination or diminution of benefits. Nothing in this Book shall be construed to eliminate or in any way diminish supplements, or other employee benefits being enjoyed at the time of promulgation of this Code.

Art. 101. Payment by results.

The Secretary of Labor and Employment shall regulate the payment of wages by results, including pakyao, piecework, and other non-time work, in order to ensure the payment of fair and reasonable wage rates, preferably through time and motion studies or in consultation with representatives of workers’ and employers’ organizations.

PAYMENT OF WAGES

Art. 102. Forms of payment. No employer shall pay the wages of an employee by means of promissory notes, vouchers, coupons, tokens, tickets, chits, or any object other than legal tender, even when expressly requested by the employee.

Payment of wages by check or money order shall be allowed when such manner of payment is customary on the date of effectivity of this Code, or is necessary because of special circumstances as specified in appropriate regulations to be issued by the Secretary of Labor and Employment or as stipulated in a collective bargaining agreement.

Art. 103. Time of payment. Wages shall be paid at least once every two (2) weeks or twice a month at intervals not exceeding sixteen (16) days. If on account of force majeure or circumstances beyond the employer’s control, payment of wages on or within the time herein provided cannot be made, the employer shall pay the wages immediately after such force majeure or circumstances have ceased. No employer shall make payment with less frequency than once a month.

The payment of wages of employees engaged to perform a task which cannot be completed in two (2) weeks shall be subject to the following conditions, in the absence of a collective bargaining agreement or arbitration award:

That payments are made at intervals not exceeding sixteen (16) days, in proportion to the amount of work completed;

That final settlement is made upon completion of the work.

Art. 104. Place of payment. Payment of wages shall be made at or near the place of undertaking, except as otherwise provided by such regulations as the Secretary of Labor and Employment may prescribe under conditions to ensure greater protection of wages.

Art. 105. Direct payment of wages. Wages shall be paid directly to the workers to whom they are due, except:

In cases of force majeure rendering such payment impossible or under other special circumstances to be determined by the Secretary of Labor and Employment in appropriate regulations, in which case, the worker may be paid through another person under written authority given by the worker for the purpose; or

Where the worker has died, in which case, the employer may pay the wages of the deceased worker to the heirs of the latter without the necessity of intestate proceedings. The claimants, if they are all of age, shall execute an affidavit attesting to their relationship to the deceased and the fact that they are his heirs, to the exclusion of all other persons. If any of the heirs is a minor, the affidavit shall be executed on his behalf by his natural guardian or next-of-kin. The affidavit shall be presented to the employer who shall make payment through the Secretary of Labor and Employment or his representative. The representative of the Secretary of Labor and Employment shall act as referee in dividing the amount paid among the heirs. The payment of wages under this Article shall absolve the employer of any further liability with respect to the amount paid.

Art. 106. Contractor or subcontractor. Whenever an employer enters into a contract with another person for the performance of the former’s work, the employees of the contractor and of the latter’s subcontractor, if any, shall be paid in accordance with the provisions of this Code.

In the event that the contractor or subcontractor fails to pay the wages of his employees in accordance with this Code, the employer shall be jointly and severally liable with his contractor or subcontractor to such employees to the extent of the work performed under the contract, in the same manner and extent that he is liable to employees directly employed by him.

The Secretary of Labor and Employment may, by appropriate regulations, restrict or prohibit the contracting-out of labor to protect the rights of workers established under this Code. In so prohibiting or restricting, he may make appropriate distinctions between labor-only contracting and job contracting as well as differentiations within these types of contracting and determine who among the parties involved shall be considered the employer for purposes of this Code, to prevent any violation or circumvention of any provision of this Code.

There is "labor-only" contracting where the person supplying workers to an employer does not have substantial capital or investment in the form of tools, equipment, machineries, work premises, among others, and the workers recruited and placed by such person are performing activities which are directly related to the principal business of such employer. In such cases, the person or intermediary shall be considered merely as an agent of the employer who shall be responsible to the workers in the same manner and extent as if the latter were directly employed by him.

Art. 107. Indirect employer. The provisions of the immediately preceding article shall likewise apply to any person, partnership, association or corporation which, not being an employer, contracts with an independent contractor for the performance of any work, task, job or project.

Art. 108. Posting of bond. An employer or indirect employer may require the contractor or subcontractor to furnish a bond equal to the cost of labor under contract, on condition that the bond will answer for the wages due the employees should the contractor or subcontractor, as the case may be, fail to pay the same.

Art. 109. Solidary liability. The provisions of existing laws to the contrary notwithstanding, every employer or indirect employer shall be held responsible with his contractor or subcontractor for any violation of any provision of this Code. For purposes of determining the extent of their civil liability under this Chapter, they shall be considered as direct employers.

Art. 110. Worker preference in case of bankruptcy. In the event of bankruptcy or liquidation of an employer’s business, his workers shall enjoy first preference as regards their wages and other monetary claims, any provisions of law to the contrary notwithstanding. Such unpaid wages and monetary claims shall be paid in full before claims of the government and other creditors may be paid. (As amended by Section 1, Republic Act No. 6715, March 21, 1989)

Art. 111. Attorney’s fees.

In cases of unlawful withholding of wages, the culpable party may be assessed attorney’s fees equivalent to ten percent of the amount of wages recovered.

It shall be unlawful for any person to demand or accept, in any judicial or administrative proceedings for the recovery of wages, attorney’s fees which exceed ten percent of the amount of wages recovered.

PROHIBITIONS REGARDING WAGES

Art. 112. Non-interference in disposal of wages. No employer shall limit or otherwise interfere with the freedom of any employee to dispose of his wages. He shall not in any manner force, compel, or oblige his employees to purchase merchandise, commodities or other property from any other person, or otherwise make use of any store or services of such employer or any other person.

Art. 113. Wage deduction. No employer, in his own behalf or in behalf of any person, shall make any deduction from the wages of his employees, except:

In cases where the worker is insured with his consent by the employer, and the deduction is to recompense the employer for the amount paid by him as premium on the insurance. 

For union dues, in cases where the right of the worker or his union to check-off has been recognized by the employer or authorized in writing by the individual worker concerned; and

In cases where the employer is authorized by law or regulations issued by the Secretary of Labor and Employment.

Art. 114. Deposits for loss or damage. No employer shall require his worker to make deposits from which deductions shall be made for the reimbursement of loss of or damage to tools, materials, or equipment supplied by the employer, except when the employer is engaged in such trades, occupations or business where the practice of making deductions or requiring deposits is a recognized one, or is necessary or desirable as determined by the Secretary of Labor and Employment in appropriate rules and regulations.

Art. 115. Limitations. No deduction from the deposits of an employee for the actual amount of the loss or damage shall be made unless the employee has been heard thereon, and his responsibility has been clearly shown.

Art. 116. Withholding of wages and kickbacks prohibited. It shall be unlawful for any person, directly or indirectly, to withhold any amount from the wages of a worker or induce him to give up any part of his wages by force, stealth, intimidation, threat or by any other means whatsoever without the worker’s consent.

Art. 117. Deduction to ensure employment. It shall be unlawful to make any deduction from the wages of any employee for the benefit of the employer or his representative or intermediary as consideration of a promise of employment or retention in employment.

Art. 118. Retaliatory measures. It shall be unlawful for an employer to refuse to pay or reduce the wages and benefits, discharge or in any manner discriminate against any employee who has filed any complaint or instituted any proceeding under this Title or has testified or is about to testify in such proceedings.

Art. 119. False reporting. It shall be unlawful for any person to make any statement, report, or record filed or kept pursuant to the provisions of this Code knowing such statement, report or record to be false in any material respect.

Authorized Causes of Termination

In a country where increasing unemployment rate continues to be one of the issues that the government is trying to address, people struggle to put food on their plate by securing a regular full-time job. Unfortunately, not everyone can guarantee a job that pays the bills and provides food for the family. Due to labor laws, some workers are employed for a short period of time only. Even if you are only a project-based employee, it is imperative that you are aware of the different causes of termination of employment. 

Termination of Employment

Art. 279. Security of tenure. In cases of regular employment, the employer shall not terminate the services of an employee except for a just cause or when authorized by this Title. An employee who is unjustly dismissed from work shall be entitled to reinstatement without loss of seniority rights and other privileges and to his full backwages, inclusive of allowances, and to his other benefits or their monetary equivalent computed from the time his compensation was withheld from him up to the time of his actual reinstatement. (As amended by Section 34, Republic Act No. 6715, March 21, 1989)

Art. 280. Regular and casual employment. The provisions of written agreement to the contrary notwithstanding and regardless of the oral agreement of the parties, an employment shall be deemed to be regular where the employee has been engaged to perform activities which are usually necessary or desirable in the usual business or trade of the employer, except where the employment has been fixed for a specific project or undertaking the completion or termination of which has been determined at the time of the engagement of the employee or where the work or service to be performed is seasonal in nature and the employment is for the duration of the season.

An employment shall be deemed to be casual if it is not covered by the preceding paragraph: Provided, That any employee who has rendered at least one year of service, whether such service is continuous or broken, shall be considered a regular employee with respect to the activity in which he is employed and his employment shall continue while such activity exists.

Art. 281. Probationary employment. Probationary employment shall not exceed six (6) months from the date the employee started working, unless it is covered by an apprenticeship agreement stipulating a longer period. The services of an employee who has been engaged on a probationary basis may be terminated for a just cause or when he fails to qualify as a regular employee in accordance with reasonable standards made known by the employer to the employee at the time of his engagement. An employee who is allowed to work after a probationary period shall be considered a regular employee.

Art. 282. Termination by employer. An employer may terminate an employment for any of the following causes:

  1. Serious misconduct or willful disobedience by the employee of the lawful orders of his employer or representative in connection with his work;
  2. Gross and habitual neglect by the employee of his duties;
  3. Fraud or willful breach by the employee of the trust reposed in him by his employer or duly authorized representative;
  4. Commission of a crime or offense by the employee against the person of his employer or any immediate member of his family or his duly authorized representatives; and
  5. Other causes analogous to the foregoing.

Art. 283. Closure of establishment and reduction of personnel. The employer may also terminate the employment of any employee due to the installation of labor-saving devices, redundancy, retrenchment to prevent losses or the closing or cessation of operation of the establishment or undertaking unless the closing is for the purpose of circumventing the provisions of this Title, by serving a written notice on the workers and the Ministry of Labor and Employment at least one (1) month before the intended date thereof. In case of termination due to the installation of labor-saving devices or redundancy, the worker affected thereby shall be entitled to a separation pay equivalent to at least his one (1) month pay or to at least one (1) month pay for every year of service, whichever is higher. In case of retrenchment to prevent losses and in cases of closures or cessation of operations of establishment or undertaking not due to serious business losses or financial reverses, the separation pay shall be equivalent to one (1) month pay or at least one-half (1/2) month pay for every year of service, whichever is higher. A fraction of at least six (6) months shall be considered one (1) whole year.

Art. 284. Disease as ground for termination. An employer may terminate the services of an employee who has been found to be suffering from any disease and whose continued employment is prohibited by law or is prejudicial to his health as well as to the health of his co-employees: Provided, That he is paid separation pay equivalent to at least one (1) month salary or to one-half (1/2) month salary for every year of service, whichever is greater, a fraction of at least six (6) months being considered as one (1) whole year.

Art. 285. Termination by employee.

1. An employee may terminate without just cause the employee-employer relationship by serving a written notice on the employer at least one (1) month in advance. The employer upon whom no such notice was served may hold the employee liable for damages.

2. An employee may put an end to the relationship without serving any notice on the employer for any of the following just causes: 

  1. Serious insult by the employer or his representative on the honor and person of the employee;
  2. Inhuman and unbearable treatment accorded the employee by the employer or his representative;
  3. Commission of a crime or offense by the employer or his representative against the person of the employee or any of the immediate members of his family; and
  4. Other causes analogous to any of the foregoing.

Art. 286. When employment not deemed terminated. The bona-fide suspension of the operation of a business or undertaking for a period not exceeding six (6) months, or the fulfillment by the employee of a military or civic duty shall not terminate employment. In all such cases, the employer shall reinstate the employee to his former position without loss of seniority rights if he indicates his desire to resume his work not later than one (1) month from the resumption of operations of his employer or from his relief from the military or civic duty.

New Bill Seeks To Shorten Work Week

Most workers work for 5 to 6 days a week or 8 hours a day as required by the Labor Code of the Philippines.

Art. 83. Normal hours of work. The normal hours of work of any employee shall not exceed eight (8) hours a day.

Health personnel in cities and municipalities with a population of at least one million (1,000,000) or in hospitals and clinics with a bed capacity of at least one hundred (100) shall hold regular office hours for eight (8) hours a day, for five (5) days a week, exclusive of time for meals, except where the exigencies of the service require that such personnel work for six (6) days or forty-eight (48) hours, in which case, they shall be entitled to an additional compensation of at least thirty percent (30%) of their regular wage for work on the sixth day. For purposes of this Article, "health personnel" shall include resident physicians, nurses, nutritionists, dietitians, pharmacists, social workers, laboratory technicians, paramedical technicians, psychologists, midwives, attendants and all other hospital or clinic personnel.

Art. 84. Hours worked. Hours worked shall include (a) all time during which an employee is required to be on duty or to be at a prescribed workplace; and (b) all time during which an employee is suffered or permitted to work.

This has been a common practice, but a new bill aims to compress the work week from 6 days to 4 days. However, with the compressed work week, this will require employees to work more than 8 hours a day. There are mixed reactions regarding this proposition. To some, it is a good idea considering the fact that longer rest days allow you to spend some quality time with your family. To others, this is a disadvantage because compressed work week means longer hours at work. 

House Bill 5068 is waiting for 2nd and 3rd readings. Once the bill passes it will be enacted into a law. 

Grounds For Termination Of Employment

Being terminated from employment is one of the most unfortunate events that can happen in an employee's life. Termination may be inevitable especially if the company decides to cut labor cost by means of reducing the number of workers. However, termination also becomes a choice when employees neglect their duties, causing them to fall short of the employer's standard and expectations. Here are different grounds for termination: 

Art. 282. Termination by employer. An employer may terminate an employment for any of the following causes:

  1. Serious misconduct or willful disobedience by the employee of the lawful orders of his employer or representative in connection with his work; 
  2. Gross and habitual neglect by the employee of his duties;
  3. Fraud or willful breach by the employee of the trust reposed in him by his employer or duly authorized representative;
  4. Commission of a crime or offense by the employee against the person of his employer or any immediate member of his family or his duly authorized representatives; and
  5. Other causes analogous to the foregoing.

Art. 283. Closure of establishment and reduction of personnel. The employer may also terminate the employment of any employee due to the installation of labor-saving devices, redundancy, retrenchment to prevent losses or the closing or cessation of operation of the establishment or undertaking unless the closing is for the purpose of circumventing the provisions of this Title, by serving a written notice on the workers and the Ministry of Labor and Employment at least one (1) month before the intended date thereof. In case of termination due to the installation of labor-saving devices or redundancy, the worker affected thereby shall be entitled to a separation pay equivalent to at least his one (1) month pay or to at least one (1) month pay for every year of service, whichever is higher. In case of retrenchment to prevent losses and in cases of closures or cessation of operations of establishment or undertaking not due to serious business losses or financial reverses, the separation pay shall be equivalent to one (1) month pay or at least one-half (1/2) month pay for every year of service, whichever is higher. A fraction of at least six (6) months shall be considered one (1) whole year.

Art. 284. Disease as ground for termination. An employer may terminate the services of an employee who has been found to be suffering from any disease and whose continued employment is prohibited by law or is prejudicial to his health as well as to the health of his co-employees: Provided, That he is paid separation pay equivalent to at least one (1) month salary or to one-half (1/2) month salary for every year of service, whichever is greater, a fraction of at least six (6) months being considered as one (1) whole year.

Art. 285. Termination by employee.

An employee may terminate without just cause the employee-employer relationship by serving a written notice on the employer at least one (1) month in advance. The employer upon whom no such notice was served may hold the employee liable for damages. 

An employee may put an end to the relationship without serving any notice on the employer for any of the following just causes: 

  1. Serious insult by the employer or his representative on the honor and person of the employee; 
  2. Inhuman and unbearable treatment accorded the employee by the employer or his representative;
  3. Commission of a crime or offense by the employer or his representative against the person of the employee or any of the immediate members of his family; and
  4. Other causes analogous to any of the foregoing.

Art. 286. When employment not deemed terminated. The bona-fide suspension of the operation of a business or undertaking for a period not exceeding six (6) months, or the fulfillment by the employee of a military or civic duty shall not terminate employment. In all such cases, the employer shall reinstate the employee to his former position without loss of seniority rights if he indicates his desire to resume his work not later than one (1) month from the resumption of operations of his employer or from his relief from the military or civic duty.

Different Types of Employment

A company needs employees to operate the business. Before getting hired by an employer, it is important for every employee to determine the type of employment they have. This is because conflicts may arise when an employer decides to go in a different direction. 

Types of Employees

1. Regular Employees-these employees refer to those who are hired for the business activities deemed necessary in the employer's usual business. They are the ones who enjoy tenure security as it is guaranteed by the Constitution. A regular employee cannot simply be terminated unless due to Just and Authorized causes according to the law. 

2. Probationary Employee-workers will not be automatically regularized once hired as they will be placed on probationary status for 6 months. After the probationary period, the employee's performance will be evaluated if they are qualified for regularization. 

3. Term Employees-this type of employee also refers to fixed-term employee because their services are needed for a specific period only. 

4. Project Employees-an employee hired for a specific project is considered as a project employee. Before an employee can be hired as a project employee, the company must specify the length and scope of the work. 

5. Seasonal Employees-workers who are hired for business activities which require additional manpower and are temporarily laid off during off season are called casual employees. 

6. Casual Employees-this type of employee is hired for business activities which are deemed incidental to the business. 

ART. 280. Regular and Casual Employment.— The provisions of written agreement to the contrary notwithstanding and regardless of the oral agreement of the parties, an employment shall be deemed to be regular where the employee has been engaged to perform activities which are usually necessary or desirable in the usual business or trade of the employer, except where the employment has been fixed for a specific project or undertaking the completion or termination of which has been determined at the time of the engagement of the employee or where the work or service to be performed is seasonal in nature and the employment is for the duration of the season.

An employment shall be deemed to be casual if it is not covered by the preceding paragraph: Provided, That, any employee who has rendered at least one year of service, whether such service is continuous or broken, shall be considered a regular employee with respect to the activity in which he is employed and his employment shall continue while such actually exists.

The foregoing contemplates four (4) kinds of employees: (a) regular employees or those who have been “engaged to perform activities which are usually necessary or desirable in the usual business or trade of the employer”; (b)  project employees or those “whose employment has been fixed for a specific project or undertaking[,] the completion or termination of which has been determined at the time of the engagement of the employee”; (c)   seasonal employees or those who work or perform services which are seasonal in nature, and the employment is for the duration of the season; and (d) casual employees or those who are not regular, project, or seasonal employees. Jurisprudence has added a fifth kind— a fixed-term employee.

What Are The Labor Benefits Of A Solo Parent?

As a solo parent, you are required to juggle multiple responsibilities that sometimes, your own needs have to take a backseat.

You become a solo parent when you assume responsibility of the head of the family due to abandonment, death or disappearance.  While it can be difficult to wear many hats, you know for a fact that you and your siblings need to survive. Is a solo parent entitled to labor benefits?

Republic Act No. 8972  or Solo Parents' Welfare Act of 2000

Section 4. Criteria for Support. – Any solo parent whose income in the place of domicile falls below the poverty threshold as set by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and subject to the assessment of the DSWD worker in the area shall be eligible for assistance: Provided, however, That any solo parent whose income is above the poverty threshold shall enjoy the benefits mentioned in Sections 6, 7 and 8 of this Act.

Section 5. Comprehensive Package of Social Development and Welfare Services. – A comprehensive package of social development and welfare services for solo parents and their families will be developed by the DSWD, DOH, DECS, CHED, TESDA, DOLE, NHA and DILG, in coordination with local government units and a nongovernmental organization with proven track record in providing services for solo parents.

The DSWD shall coordinate with concerned agencies the implementation of the comprehensive package of social development and welfare services for solo parents and their families. The package will initially include:

(a) Livelihood development services which include trainings on livelihood skills, basic business management, value orientation and the provision of seed capital or job placement.

(b) Counseling services which include individual, peer group or family counseling. This will focus on the resolution of personal relationship and role conflicts.

(c) Parent effectiveness services which include the provision and expansion of knowledge and skills of the solo parent on early childhood development, behavior management, health care, rights and duties of parents and children.

(d) Critical incidence stress debriefing which includes preventive stress management strategy designed to assist solo parents in coping with crisis situations and cases of abuse.

(e) Special projects for individuals in need of protection which include temporary shelter, counseling, legal assistance, medical care, self-concept or ego-building, crisis management and spiritual enrichment.

Section 6. Flexible Work Schedule. – The employer shall provide for a flexible working schedule for solo parents: Provided, That the same shall not affect individual and company productivity: Provided, further, That any employer may request exemption from the above requirements from the DOLE on certain meritorious grounds.

Section 7. Work Discrimination. – No employer shall discriminate against any solo parent employee with respect to terms and conditions of employment on account of his/her status.

Section 8. Parental Leave. – In addition to leave privileges under existing laws, parental leave of not more than seven (7) working days every year shall be granted to any solo parent employee who has rendered service of at least one (1) year.

Section 9. Educational Benefits. – The DECS, CHED and TESDA shall provide the following benefits and privileges:

(1) Scholarship programs for qualified solo parents and their children in institutions of basic, tertiary and technical/skills education; and

(2) Nonformal education programs appropriate for solo parents and their children.

The DECS, CHED and TESDA shall promulgate rules and regulations for the proper implementation of this program.

Section 10. Housing Benefits. – Solo parents shall be given allocation in housing projects and shall be provided with liberal terms of payment on said government low-cost housing projects in accordance with housing law provisions prioritizing applicants below the poverty line as declared by the NEDA.

Section 11. Medical Assistance. – The DOH shall develop a comprehensive health care program for solo parents and their children. The program shall be implemented by the DOH through their retained hospitals and medical centers and the local government units (LGUs) through their provincial/district/city/municipal hospitals and rural health units (RHUs).

Can Your Employer Hold Your Last Paycheck?

The policies of your company will determine the release of the last paycheck for resigning employees.

Employees who are planning to resign are often required to give at least a thirty-day notice to the company or employer before the date of the intended resignation. However, there are some cases when the employee's last paycheck is not given despite rendering the services within the required period.

Is it lawful for an employer to hold the release of the employee's last salary?

The answer will greatly depend on the policies of your office.

The common scenario for employees who have an intention to resign is to give thirty-day notice and within that period, they need to render their services while waiting for the resignation's effectivity. There are cases when the salary is immediately given so long as it covers the payroll period. For instance, an employee is receiving his/her salary every 15th and 30th of the month.

The payroll period may vary from company to company. In some cases, the payroll period covered by the salary that falls on the 15th is 26 to 10 while the period for the salary on the 30th is from 11 to 25. If the effectivity of your resignation falls on the 26th, you need to give thirty-day notice. This means that before the 26th you should have already completed the required notice period. Your salary on the 15th may still be received, but it is also possible that the company will not release your salary on the 30th covering the period 11 to 25 for the reason that you need to make sue you are cleared from any accountability.

The contract of employment also binds you and your employer. The contracting parties need to fulfill the obligations stated in the contract provided they do not go against morals, good customs, public order and public policy.

If the contract indicates stipulations as to the manner of release of salary once an employee expresses his/her intent to resign, this obligation must be fulfilled. However, the company's customary practice must be consulted if you have not signed any contract.

It is important that you inquire from your company about their policy. This way, you will be enlightened in the event they do not release your last paycheck. The human resources and accounting departments will be able to answer your concerns regarding your salary.

The reason behind the withholding of the salary is to give the employer the chance to clear the employee from liabilities. Once you comply with company's requirements such as securing a clearance form, there is a possibility that you will still get your salary.

Immediate Resignation: When Is It Considered Valid?

Immediate resignation is prevalent in most companies. While employees may terminate their contract of employment through resignation, a written notice of the resignation must be given in advance. The written notice is counted as 30 calendar days. The purpose of the advance notice is to prevent disrupting the business operation and to protect the employee from being held liable for damages.

This is a common scenario especially when employees no longer feel motivated to work. The decision to resign just comes out of the blue. However, there are some risks involved in tendering an immediate resignation.

What happens if you do not provide resignation notice?

There are certain measures that will be implemented in the event you do not comply with the required notice period. It can have a serious impact on you as an employee because you have not ensured proper transition. Complying with the required notice period means giving the company enough time to find your replacement.

When can an employee resign without serving any notice?

Under Article 285 of the Labor Code, the following circumstances may allow an employee to terminate the contract of employment without serving a written notice.

1. Serious insult by the employer or his representative on the honor and person of the employee;

2. Inhuman and unbearable treatment accorded the employee by the employer or his representative;

3. Commission of a crime or offense by the employer or his representative against the person of the employee or any of the immediate members of his family; and

4.Other causes analogous to any of the foregoing.

Separation Pay

If an employee voluntarily resigns from work, he or she may not be entitled to separation pay. However, separation pay will only be given if the severance of employment is beyond the employee's control. For instance, an employer decides to retrench worker to prevent losses and this will force the employee to resign or depart from the company. Under the law, dismissed employee is entitled to separation pay.

Voluntary resignation where severance of employment is the employee's initiative, the law does not require the employer to give separation pay. However, there can still be some exceptions to the rule.

1. When payment of separation pay is stipulated in the employment contract or Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA, for companies with existing bargaining agent or union);

2. When it is sanctioned by established employer practice or policy.

Your Rights As A Part-Time Employee

With the growing number of unemployed individuals in the Philippines, employment is deemed a privilege. A privilege that some employers tend to exploit due to the employee's lack of basic knowledge of the labor law. Some employees are well aware of their rights and exercise it when they feel that employers are already crossing the lines. There are employees that remain oblivious to the fact that they are giving more to the employers and only getting less. Part-time employment may seem less glamorous than its counterpart: the full-time employment. However, it does not necessarily mean that this type of employment will not entitle employees of the benefits they so deserve. DOLE's explanatory bulletin explains the right of a part-time employee:

On payment of wages and statutory monetary benefits

As the Labor Code benefits are generally based on the 8-hour workday schedule, the employer may pay “proportionately decrease the daily wage and wage-related benefits granted by law.” This presupposes that there is no contrary stipulation in the employment contract, company policy, CBA, requiring full payment for 8 hours a day despite a shorter work schedule.

The above rule applies the principle of fairness and equity, as well as the principle of “a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s labor.”
On security of tenure

Part-time employees enjoy security of tenure.

As with full-time employees, part-time employees may only be terminated from employment after observance of due process. Due process termination requires the observance of substantive due process and procedural due process. Non-compliance with due process will result in illegal dismissal of a part-time employee.

Curiously, the Bulletin states that part-time employees are entitled to security of tenure only if they become regular employees. “Once they become regular employees, they are entitled to security of tenure under the law, and can only be separated for a just or authorized cause and after due process.”

It is respectfully submitted that this is incorrect.

The principle of security of tenure enshrined in the 1987 Constitution applies to all employees – without exception. As a part-time employee is undoubtedly and without question an employee, then the principle of security of tenure likewise applies to such employee.

Further, it should be borne in mind that a part-time employee may be a regular despite the shorter working schedule. To be clear, a regular employee may be a full-time regular or a part-time regular. The Supreme Court no less has recognized such a situation.

In Perpetual Help Cooperative, Inc. v. Faburada, it was held that a part-time employee may be a regular despite rendering less than the eight hours of work a day. “That [the employee] worked only on a part-time basis does not mean that he is a not a regular employee. Ones regularity of employment is not determined by the number of hours one works but by the nature and by the length of time one has been in that particular job.”

As the Bulletin was issued in 1996 and the Perpetual Help Cooperative case was promulgated in 2005, it is submitted that the said case law supersedes the Bulletin insofar as there may be inconsistencies.
On probationary employment

In the Bulletin, probationary employment for part-time employees may extend the prescribed six (6) months period to the extent that the total number of hours work would be equal to that of a full-time employee under probation.

The justification is anchored on the “intent of the law in allowing a probationary period prior to regularization.”[6] The employer’s main reason for insisting the 6-month probation is to test the employee’s fitness for employment during that time. Thus, the number of normal working days and hours within the probationary period should be observed. “For this reason, part-timers should become regular in status, after working for the total number of hours or days, which completes a six-month probationary period of a full-time worker in the same establishment doing the same job under normal circumstances.”

Know The Basics of Philippine Labor Law

Once you are employed, you need to equip yourself with basic knowledge about Philippine labor law for you to know your rights as an employee. Aside from wage and monetary benefits, employees may also have lingering questions about the hours of work, rest day and even holidays. Here are the basics:

Hours of work

Employees must not exceed 8 hours a day while health personnel must have a maximum of 40 hours per week. If hours of work exceed 40 hours, the employee is entitled to 30% additional pay. While the law suggests 8 hours to be the maximum number of work hours, the law the does prohibit working less than eight hours. Part-time work is allowed and the pay will correspond to the actual hours worked. When it comes to the wage and benefits of part-time workers, they should be in proportion to the number of hours worked. For instance, if the part-time worker earns P400.00 for an eight-hour work, P200.00 will be received for work done in four hours.

The law on overtime applies to everyone. However, the following are exempted by the law: government employees, managerial personnel, househelpers, piece rate workers, non-agricultural field personnel whose work hours cannot be determined and family members who are dependent upon the support of employer. For work done between 10PM and 6AM, the rate is higher than normal. Under the Labor Code, employees who work between the specified time shall be paid a night shift differential of not less than 10% of the regular wage for each hour of worked performed.

Overtime work refers to work rendered beyond 8 hours and the employee who renders overtime work shall earn an additional pay of 25%. If overtime work is done on a rest day or holiday, the rate will be 30%. In the event of undertime on another day, overtime pay should still apply as the law prohibits offsetting overtime with undertime on another day.

Rest Day

Weekly rest day includes rest period of not less than 24 consecutive hours after every six normal workdays. The weekly restday is determined by the employer, but shall respect the employee's preference if such reference is based on religious grounds. If employees work on a rest day, the compensation will be the regular wage plus 30% thereof. For employees working on a Sunday, the employee shall be entitled to the additional 30% pay if Sunday happens to be the rest day.

Holidays

Holiday pay is received by employees on the occasion of a special day or a regular holiday. For regular holidays, the employee is still paid even if she did not work. The employee will be entitled to double pay if she works on a regular holiday. When it comes to a special day, the employees will not be paid if they do not report for work. If employees work on a special day, they will be entitled to 130% of the regular pay.

Termination Of Employment: What Is Your Right As An Employee?

Before an employer dismisses an employee, the due process must be properly observed regardless of the ground for termination. The reason for termination may be due serious misconduct, redundancy, cessation business and others. Employers must take the components of procedural due process to prevent any violation of the labor code. In a termination for just cause, the two-notice rule must be observed. The employee will be given a chance to explain his or her side through a notice of intent to dismiss where the ground for termination is specified. The employee will have the opportunity to respond to the charge during a hearing or conference. The evidence will also be presented against the employee. All the circumstances will be taken into consideration and when grounds have been established to justify termination, a notice of dismissal will be served to the employee. On the other hand, a written notice of dismissal to the employee which specifies the grounds at least 30 days before the termination date will be served for cases of termination for an authorized cause.

Termination of employment Under presidential decree No. 442

“ART. 282. Termination by employer. - An employer may terminate an employment for any of the following causes:

(a) Serious misconduct or willful disobedience by the employee of the lawful orders of his employer or representative in connection with his work;

(b) Gross and habitual neglect by the employee of his duties;

(c) Fraud or willful breach by the employee of the trust reposed in him by his employer or duly authorized representative;

(d) Commission of a crime or offense by the employee against the person of his employer or any immediate member of his family or his duly authorized representatives; and

(e) Other causes analogous to the foregoing.

ART. 283. Closure of establishment and reduction of personnel. - The employer may also terminate the employment of any employee due to the installation of labor-saving devices, redundancy, retrenchment to prevent losses or the closing or cessation of operation of the establishment or undertaking unless the closing is for the purpose of circumventing the provisions of this Title, by serving a written notice on the workers and the Ministry of Labor and Employment at least one (1) month before the intended date thereof. In case of termination due to the installation of labor-saving devices or redundancy, the worker affected thereby shall be entitled to a separation pay equivalent to at least his one (1) month pay or to at least one (1) month pay for every year of service, whichever is higher. In case of retrenchment to prevent losses and in cases of closures or cessation of operations of establishment or undertaking not due to serious business losses or financial reverses, the separation pay shall be equivalent to one (1) month pay or at least one-half (1/2) month pay for every year of service, whichever is higher. A fraction of at least six (6) months shall be considered one (1) whole year.

ART. 284. Disease as ground for termination. - An employer may terminate the services of an employee who has been found to be suffering from any disease and whose continued employment is prohibited by law or is prejudicial to his health as well as to the health of his co-employees: Provided, That he is paid separation pay equivalent to at least one (1) month salary or to one-half (1/2) month salary for every year of service, whichever is greater, a fraction of at least six (6) months being considered as one (1) whole year.

ART. 285. Termination by employee. - (a) An employee may terminate without just cause the employee-employer relationship by serving a written notice on the employer at least one (1) month in advance. The employer upon whom no such notice was served may hold the employee liable for damages.

(b) An employee may put an end to the relationship without serving any notice on the employer for any of the following just causes:

1. Serious insult by the employer or his representative on the honor and person of the employee;
2. Inhuman and unbearable treatment accorded the employee by the employer or his representative;
3. Commission of a crime or offense by the employer or his representative against the person of the employee or any of the immediate members of his family; and
4. Other causes analogous to any of the foregoing.

ART. 286. When employment not deemed terminated. - The bona-fide suspension of the operation of a business or undertaking for a period not exceeding six (6) months, or the fulfillment by the employee of a military or civic duty shall not terminate employment. In all such cases, the employer shall reinstate the employee to his former position without loss of seniority rights if he indicates his desire to resume his work not later than one (1) month from the resumption of operations of his employer or from his relief from the military or civic duty.”

Minimum Wage Increase In Central Luzon And Cagayan Valley In Effect

Aside from putting an end to contractualization, workers who consider themselves as minimum wage earners are also hoping for an increase in their wage rates. On May 1, which also happened to be the celebration of Labor Day, Cagayan Valley and Central Luzon finally got pay increases. Rosalinda Baldoz, labor secretary said that the provinces of Isabela, Quirino, Batanes, Cagayan and Nueva Viscaya currently have the minimum wage of P264 to P300.

The previous rates of Cagayan Valley provinces ranged from P219 to P255. According to the head of Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in Cagayan Valley, Pacifico Moralit, the said pay hike was the highest increase the region got for over two decades. Aside from Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon will also receive an increase of P7 in their wage.

“ART. 123. Wage Order. — Whenever conditions in the region so warrant, the Regional Board shall investigate and study all pertinent facts; and based on the standards and criteria herein prescribed, shall proceed to determine whether a Wage Order should be issued. Any such Wage Order shall take effect after fifteen (15) days from its complete publication in at least one (1) newspaper of general circulation in the region.

“In the performance of its wage determining functions, the Regional Board shall conduct public hearings/consultations, giving notices to employees’ and employers’ groups, provincial, city and municipal officials and other interested parties.

“Any party aggrieved by the Wage Order issued by the Regional Board may appeal such order to the Commission within ten (10) calendar days from the publication of such order. It shall be mandatory for the Commission to decide such appeal within sixty (60) calendar days from the filing thereof.

“The filing of the appeal does not stay the order unless the person appealing such order shall file with the Commission an undertaking with a surety or sureties satisfactory to the Commission for the payment to the employees affected by the order of the corresponding increase, in the event such order is affirmed.”

“ART. 124. Standards/Criteria for Minimum Wage Fixing. — The regional minimum wages to be established by the Regional Board shall be as nearly adequate as is economically feasible to maintain the minimum standards of living necessary for the health, efficiency and general well-being of the employees within the framework of the national economic and social development program. In the determination of such regional minimum wages, the Regional Board shall, among other relevant factors, consider the following:

“(a) The demand for living wages;

“(b) Wage adjustment vis-a-vis the consumer price index;

“(c) The cost of living and changes or increases therein;

“(d) The needs of workers and their families;

“(e) The need to induce industries to invest in the countryside;

“(f) Improvements in standards of living;

“(g) The prevailing wage levels;

“(h) Fair return of the capital invested and capacity to pay of employers;

“(i) Effects on employment generation and family income; and

“(j) The equitable distribution of income and wealth along the imperatives of economic and social development.

“The wages prescribed in accordance with the provisions of this Title shall be the standard prevailing minimum wages in every region. These wages shall include wages varying within industries, provinces or localities if in the judgment of the Regional Board conditions make such local differentiation proper and necessary to effectuate the purpose of this Title.

“Any person, company, corporation, partnership or any other entity engaged in business shall file and register annually with the appropriate Regional Board, Commission and the National Statistics Office an itemized listing of their labor component, specifying the names of their workers and employees below the managerial level, including learners, apprentices and disabled/handicapped workers who were hired under the terms prescribed in the employment contracts, and their corresponding salaries and wages.

Job Contracting: Where Do You Exactly Draw The Line?

These days, the employers and employees inclined into job-contracting are significantly increasing. However, job contracting schemes cut both ways: the negative and the positive. The positive aspects of job contracting are outlined in House Bill No. 380, but when you look at the big picture, there are some issues that job contracting needs to address. For one, contractual workers are hired by agencies and with this scheme, some workers are underpaid and not getting the benefits due to them.

Contracting and Subcontracting

As defined by Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), contracting or subcontracting is an arrangement where an employer (referred to as the principal) enters an agreement to farm out with a subcontractor or contractor a job’s completion. There is a predetermined or definite period for the completion of a specific job. In most cases, the service or work is completed within outside the principal’s premises.

“1)  Minimum capitalization of at least P3 Million

•  fully paid up capital for corporation, partnership and cooperative;

•  net worth for single proprietorship

2) Proof of ownership or lease agreement on tools, equipment, machineries and work premises

3) Payment of P25,000.00 registration fee

4) Proof of financial capacity to pay the wages and benefits of its workers using the Net Financial Contracting Capacity (NFCC) formula in government procurement

5)  Control over the performance of the work of the employee deployed or assigned to render the contracted work or services

6)  Not engaged in labor-only contracting arrangement as provided in Section 6 Certificate of Bank Deposits

7)  Not engaged in prohibited activities enumerated in Section 7

8)  Observes the rights of the workers as provided in Section 8

9)  Observes the required contracts under Section 9

10) Not delisted from the registry of legitimate contractor/subcontractor”

Contracting or subcontracting will only be legitimate if:

“a. the contractor or subcontractor carries on a distinct and independent business and undertakes to perform the job, work or service on its own account and under its own responsibility, according to its own manner and method, and free from the control and direction of the principal in all matters connected with the performance of the work except as to the results thereof;

b. the contractor or subcontractor has substantial capital or investment;

c. The agreement between the principal and the contractor or subcontractor assures the contractual employees entitlement to all occupational safety and health standards, free exercise of the right to self organization, security of tenure, and social and welfare benefits.”

The contractor’s employees are also entitled of the following:

“(a) safe and healthful working conditions;

(b) labor standards such as service incentive leave, rest days, overtime pay, holiday pay, 13th month pay, and separation pay as may be provided in the Service Agreement or under the Labor Code;

(c) retirement benefits under the SSS or
retirement plans of the contractor, if there are any;

(d) social security and welfare benefits;

(e) self-organization, collective bargaining and peaceful concerted activities; and

(f) security of tenure.”

If a worker feels that the contractor or subcontractor has violated the provisions of DO 18-A,  they can file a complaint so the contractor’s registration will be cancelled. Complaint must be filed before the DOLE Regional Office.

Unremitted SSS Contributions: Are Employers Liable?

Is there a penalty for employers who fail to remit employees’ SSS contributions? By strengthening Republic Act 8282, there will be stiffer penalties for delinquent employers. Problems with SSS contributions have created a negative effect on SSS pensioners and P1200 per month cannot support the pensioners’ daily needs. According to Neri Colmenares, the uncollected contributions should be used in increasing the pension of most SSS members, which include OFWs. There are thousands of cases where employers do not remit SSS contributions. While it reflects on the employee’s payslip, the anomaly remains unexplained and undiscovered until the employee resigns.

Section 28 of RA 8282 states that non-remittance of worker’s SSS contributions shall be punishable by:

“a fine of not less than Five thousand pesos (P5,000.00) nor more than Twenty thousand pesos (P20,000.00), or imprisonment for not less than six (6) years and one (1) day nor more than twelve (12) years, or both, at the discretion of the court: Provided, That where the violation consists in failure or refusal to register employees or himself, in case of the covered self-employed or to deduct contributions from the employees’ compensation and remit the same to the SSS, the penalty shall be a fine of not less Five thousand pesos (P5,000.00) nor more than Twenty thousand pesos (P20,000.00) and imprisonment for not less than six (6) years and one (1) day nor more than twelve (12) years.

"(f) If the act or omission penalized by this Act be committed by an association, partnership, corporation or any other institution, its managing head, directors or partners shall be liable for the penalties provided in this Act for the offense.

"(g) Any employee of the SSS who receives or keeps funds or property belonging, payable or deliverable to the SSS and who shall appropriate the same, or shall take or misappropriate, or shall consent, or through abandonment or negligence, shall permit any other person to take such property or funds, wholly or partially, or shall otherwise be guilty of misappropriation of such funds or property, shall suffer the penalties provided in Article Two hundred seventeen of the Revised Penal Code.

"(h) Any employer who, after deducting the monthly contributions or loan amortizations from his employee’s compensation, fails to remit the said deduction to the SSS within thirty (30) days from the date they became due, shall be presumed to have misappropriated such contributions or loan amortizations and shall suffer the penalties provided in Article Three hundred fifteen of the Revised Penal Code.

"(i) Criminal action arising from a violation of the provisions of this Act may be commenced by the SSS or the employee concerned either under this Act or in appropriate cases under the Revised Penal Code: Provided, That such criminal action may be filed by the SSS in the city or municipality where the SSS office is located, if the violation was committed within its territorial jurisdiction or in Metro Manila, at the option of the SSS.”

Basic Rights Every Employee Should Know

Why does unfair labor practice exist? Is it because of employers who are simply taking advantage of employees’ lack of knowledge of labor laws? When employees are not aware of their rights, it is easy for them to shrug off irregularities. There are some companies that implement open door policy, but good employees resign because the issues are not properly resolved.   While it may not be completely save an employee from being denied of their rights, it still pays off to know basic employee rights.

“ The Bureau of Working Conditions, a staff department of the Department of Labor and Employment, compiled a list of Basic Rights that every worker is entitled to. These rights ensure the safety and health of all workers.

1. Equal work opportunities for all
The State shall protect labor, promote full employment, provide equal work opportunity regardless of gender, race, or creed; and regulate relations between employees and employers.

2. Security of tenure
Every employee shall be assured security of tenure. No employee can be dismissed from work except for a just or authorized cause, and only after due process.

Just cause refers to any wrongdoing committed by an employee; authorized cause refers to economic circumstances that are not the employee’s fault.

3. Work days and work hours
An employee must be paid their wages for all hours worked. If their work hours fall between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., they are entitled to night shift pay in addition to their pay for regular work hours. If they work over eight hours a day, they are entitled to overtime pay.

4. Weekly rest day
A day-off of 24 consecutive hours after six (6) days of work should be scheduled by the employer upon consultation with the workers.

5. Wage and wage-related benefits
Wage is the amount paid to an employee in exchange for to the service that they rendered to their employer. Wage may be fixed for a given period.

6. Payment of wages
Wages should be paid directly to the employee in cash, legal tender, or through a bank.
Wages shall be given not less than once every two weeks or twice within a month at intervals not exceeding 16 days.

7. Female employees
Women are prohibited from engaging in night work unless the work is allowed by the following rules: industrial undertakings from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., commercial/non-industrial undertakings from 12 m.n. to 6 a.m., or agricultural takings at night provided that she has had nine consecutive hours of rest.

Welfare facilities, such as separate dressing rooms and lavatories, must be installed at the workplace.

8. Employment of children      
The minimum employment age is 15 years of age. Any worker below 15 years of age should be directly under the sole responsibility of parents or guardians provided that work does not interfere with the child’s schooling or development.

The minimum age of employment is 18 years for hazardous jobs, and 15 years for non-hazardous jobs.

9. Safe working conditions
Employers must provide workers with every kind of on-the-job protection against injury, sickness or death through safe and healthful working conditions.

10. Rights to self-organization and collective bargaining
Every worker has the right to self-organization, i.e., to form or to join any legitimate workers’ union, free from interference of their employer or the government. All workers may join a union for the purpose of collective bargaining and is eligible for union membership on the first day of their employment.

Collective bargaining is a process between two parties, namely the employer and the union, where the terms and conditions of employment are fixed and agreed upon. In collective bargaining, the two parties also decide upon a method for resolving grievances. Collective bargaining results in a contract called a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).”

Another great source of information about labor codes can be found in the official website of DOLE. This website provides answers to work-related concerns. However, an employee should keep in mind that labor laws can serve as a guide so violations in the workplace are prevented. Employees should also know where to draw the line and should not use these labor laws as an instrument to blackmail an employer because in a country where justice system is sluggish, there is still such a thing as due process.

Human Trafficking, Illegal Recruitment And A Promise Of A Better Life

When victims of illegal recruitment and human trafficking are asked for reasons why they choose to bite the bait instead of waiting for a legal job opportunity to come, there is only one answer that comes to mind: a promise of a better life. Poverty drives a person to make hasty decisions. Someone who is desperate to free himself from poverty’s tight grip will focus on the solution, regardless of its sources. Law becomes non-existent as these unsuspecting victims want to improve their life.

The grass is greener on the other side because those fresh blades of grass are made of plastics. They are facades of the harsh reality that greets desperate job-seekers who just want a better life. They are victims who simply wish to have food on their plate or enjoy pleasures of life. Prostitution, organ sale, sex tourism and other illegal jobs can be in the guise of a decent job to lure people into recruitment.

The ripple effect of illegal recruitment becomes evident in the case of Mary Jane Veloso, an OFW who was put to prison due to being suspected as a drug mule and presently, on Indonesia’s death row. Due aspiring for a better life, illegal recruiters seized the opportunity to take advantage of Veloso. While Veloso was hoping for a better future ahead of her, human traffickers were up to something else.

Veloso’s boat of hope sinks before it reaches the sea. Sad, unfortunate, disheartening. Mary Jane Veloso represents millions of OFWs who continue to fight a difficult battle against poverty and a poor excuse of a system. Human trafficking schemes continue to turn dreams into nightmare. There are government agencies such as POEA that provide information to job-seekers to avoid falling victim to illegal recruitment and human trafficking, but people need more than just a piece of information. When your family is starving to death, wouldn’t you consider  once-in-a-lifetime job offer appealing?

Section 10 of Republic Act No. 10364 or the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Person Act of 2012 provides details of penalties and sanctions for those who this law.

“SEC. 10. Penalties and Sanctions. – The following penalties and sanctions are hereby established for the offenses enumerated in this Act:

“(a) Any person found guilty of committing any of the acts enumerated in Section 4 shall suffer the penalty of imprisonment of twenty (20) years and a fine of not less than One million pesos (P1,000,000.00) but not more than Two million pesos (P2,000,000.00);

“(b) Any person found guilty of committing any of the acts enumerated in Section 4-A of this Act shall suffer the penalty of imprisonment of fifteen (15) years and a fine of not less than Five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000.00) but not more than One million pesos (P1,000,000.00);

“(c) Any person found guilty of Section 4-B of this Act shall suffer the penalty of imprisonment of fifteen (15) years and a fine of not less than Five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000.00) but not more than One million pesos (P1,000,000.00);

“In every case, conviction shall cause and carry the automatic revocation of the license or registration of the recruitment agency involved in trafficking. The license of a recruitment agency which trafficked a child shall be automatically revoked.

“(d) Any person found, guilty of committing any of the acts enumerated in Section 5 shall suffer the penalty of imprisonment of fifteen (15) years and a fine of not less than Five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000.00) but not more than One million pesos (P1,000,000.00);

“(e) Any person found guilty of qualified trafficking under Section 6 shall suffer the penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of not less than Two million pesos (P2,000,000.00) but not more than Five million pesos (P5,000,000.00);

“(f) Any person who violates Section 7 hereof shall suffer the penalty of imprisonment of six (6) years and a fine of not less than Five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000.00) but not more than One million pesos (P1,000,000.00);

“(g) If the offender is a corporation, partnership, association, club, establishment or any juridical person, the penalty shall be imposed upon the owner, president, partner, manager, and/or any responsible officer who participated in the commission of the crime or who shall have knowingly permitted or failed to prevent its commission;

“(h) The registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and license to operate of the erring agency, corporation, association, religious group, tour or travel agent, club or establishment, or any place of entertainment shall be cancelled and revoked permanently. The owner, president, partner or manager thereof shall not be allowed to operate similar establishments in a different name;

“(i) If the offender is a foreigner, he or she shall be immediately deported after serving his or her sentence and be barred permanently from entering the country;

“(j) Any employee or official of government agencies who shall issue or approve the issuance of travel exit clearances, passports, registration certificates, counseling certificates, marriage license, and other similar documents to persons, whether juridical or natural, recruitment agencies, establishments or other individuals or groups, who fail to observe the prescribed procedures and the requirement as provided for by laws, rules and regulations, shall be held administratively liable, without prejudice to criminal liability under this Act. The concerned government official or employee shall, upon conviction, be dismissed from the service and be barred permanently to hold public office. His or her retirement and other benefits shall likewise be forfeited; and

“(k) Conviction, by final judgment of the adopter for any offense under this Act shall result in the immediate rescission of the decree of adoption.”

Law On Employment Of Night Workers

With the prevalence of BPO industries, more and more people are working at night. In the past nurses, cops and doctors were the only ones who are known for working during nighttime. If you are a night worker or you know someone who is, a knowledge on the law on night workers can help you understand your rights as an employee. 

Who are considered night workers?

Any employed individual whose job requires rendering substantial number of hours of night work is considered a night worker. More often than not, the night work exceeds a specified limit, which the Secretary of Labor shall fix after the labor organizations and employers have been consulted. 

The coverage of the amendments under R.A. 10151

The amendments apply to all individuals, who are permitted or employed to work at night, except the ones who are employed in stock raising, agriculture, maritime transport, fishing and inland navigation. It should be during a period of not less than seven consecutive hours. This includes the interval from midnight until five o’clock in the morning. The coverage will also be determined by the Secretary of Labor and Employment and the labor organizations and employers must be consulted. 

Health assessment

If workers request to undergo free health assessment, the request needs to be granted. The health assessment must be given before taking a job as a night worker and it should also be performed at regular intervals. They should also undergo health assessment if they are experiencing health problems during such an assignment, which is not due to the factors involved in night work. If the employee is deemed unfit for night work, the findings will not be transmitted without the worker’s consent. Furthermore, the findings will not be used to their detriment. 

Employees Who Are Deemed Unfit For Night Work 

• Night workers who are unfit for night work due to health reasons will be transferred to a similar job practicable, which they are considered suitable to work. 

• When transfer to a similar job is not practicable, the employees will be granted the same benefits as other employees who are unable to work. 

• If the night worker has been diagnosed to be temporarily unfit for night work, they will be given protection against termination or dismissal due to health reasons. 

Women can be employed as night workers, but measures must be taken to ensure that there is an alternative to night work for women workers. Nursing mothers and pregnant women are also allowed to work if a competent physician has provided a certification that they are indeed fit to render night work. It should be certified by a physician other than the company physician. 



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