A measure invalidating fixed employment contracts has been filed in the House of Representatives, the third bill of its kind that seeks to abolish contractualization.
Rep. Fernando Hicap of Anakpawis party-list made the proposal under his House Bill (HB) 5140, which will cover those who stand to be employed by local and foreign-owned companies.
But unlike the previous two proposals made by party-list groups Akbayan and Democratic Independent Workers Association, HB 5140 took it a step farther with the provision that any stipulation in any written or oral contract of employment for a definite or fixed period that is designed to subvert the provision of the proposed act will be deemed null and void.
“Shoemart [SM] owned by Henry Sy is notorious for employing contractual employees with shortened employment tenures of three to five months only. Contractualization is not a mere short-term tactic to reduce the cost or to defeat a union organizing drive, but a long-term strategy for shedding all obligations to workers and eliminating all employees rights provided by labor laws,” Hicap said.
At least 37.6 million of the country’s work force, the lawmaker added, are either employed as contractual, temporary or probationary personnel or hired for odd jobs.
Seven out of 10 firms in the country are implementing the contractualization scheme, according to Hicap.
“Contractual employment is an employment strategy that aggravates domestic employment by destroying regular and permanent jobs while exposing contractual or temporary workers to sub-standard and inhumane working conditions,” he said.
In addition, Hicap’s bill provides that probationary employment should not exceed six months from the first day of service for all workers, regardless of the nature of employment.
The bill imposes a fine of P500,000 on and imprisonment of not more than two years for violators.
If a corporation, trust, firm, partnership or association commits the offense, the penalty shall be imposed on guilty officers.
Akbayan’s HB 573, or an Act Strengthening the Security of Tenure of Workers in the Private Sector, states that an employee who is allowed to work after a probationary period, even under the guise of an extension, will then be considered a regular employee.
”The termination [of services]of a probationary employee cannot be valid if there is termination of [services of]almost all probationary employees and if the employer maintained probationary employees in excess of the 30 percent of the total workforce,” Akbayan said in its bill.
It defined a regular employee as somebody engaged to perform activities that are usually necessary or desirable or directly related to the usual business or trade of the employer.
HB 124 or Security of Tenure Act of 2013 by Rep. Emmeline Aglipay of DIWA party-list limits fixed-term employment for: project employment, extra employment, seasonal employment and in industries that are certified by the President in an Executive Order (as allowable, due to existing and substantial losses in the industry as a whole brought about by an inability to price goods competitively in the market despite implementing reasonable measures], overseas Filipino workers, those hired to play professional sports, those appointed to sensitive positions in educational institutions such as dean, assistant dean, principal and college secretary and those employed as members of managerial staff.
Project employment is a tenure that has been fixed for a specific project and that the termination of services of an employee has been determined at the time of his/her engagement, while extra employment is additional work to be performed in restaurants and hotel establishments specifically for banquet functions, seminars and similar functions where regular employees cannot reasonably cope with increased demands of such events.
Seasonal employment refers to performance of an agricultural work that is seasonal in nature (duration of the planting or harvesting season).