My husband is a bus driver in a transportation firm that is operating in Region II. He has been employed with the company for one year and eight months. Last month, several drivers and conductors, including my husband, had a disagreement with the firm on new policies, which the bus company is implementing. This led to the filing of cases by the drivers and conductors against the firm before the National Labor Relations Commission.
The complainants demanded payment of overtime pay, holiday pay, service incentive leave, rest days, etc. When I attended one of the hearings, I heard a representative from the company that he is offering a certain amount to the drivers and conductors as settlement of their claim, saying, “You are not entitled to your claims because you are field personnel.” What are “field personnel?” Are bus drivers “field personnel?”
Provisions on working conditions and rest periods are governed by Title 1, Book 3 of Presidential Decree (PD) 442, as amended, and will not apply to government employees, managerial employees, field personnel, members of the family of the employer who are dependent on him for support, domestic helpers, persons in the personal service of another and workers who are paid by results.
According to Article 82 of PD 442, field personnel “refers to non-agricultural employees who regularly perform their duties away from the principal place of business or branch of office of the employer and whose actual hours of work in the field cannot be determined with reasonable certainty.”
Bus drivers and conductors are not field personnel, but regular employees of the bus company; hence, they are covered by the provision of Title 1, Book 3 of PD 442. This is supported by the ruling of the Supreme Court in Dasco et al. vs. Philtranco (G. R. No. 211141, June 29, 2016), where the highest court of the land said:
“As a general rule, field personnel are those whose performance of their job/service is not supervised by the employer or his representative, the workplace being away from the principal office and whose hours and days of work cannot be determined with reasonable certainty; hence, they are paid specific amount for rendering specific service or performing specific work. If required to be at specific places at specific times, employees including drivers cannot be said to be field personnel despite the fact that they are performing work away from the principal office of the employee. x x x
“ Xxx At this point, it is necessary to stress that the definition of a “field personnel” is not merely concerned with the location where the employee regularly performs his duties but also with the fact that the employee’s performance is unsupervised by the employer. As discussed above, field personnel are those who regularly perform their duties away from the principal place of business of the employer and whose actual hours of work in the field cannot be determined with reasonable certainty. Thus, in order to conclude whether an employee is a field employee, it is also necessary to ascertain if actual hours of work in the field can be determined with reasonable certainty by the employer. In so doing, an inquiry must be made as to whether or not the employee’s time and performance are constantly supervised by the employer.”
Since your husband and his co-workers are considered regular employees, it follows that they are entitled to their demands against the bus company.
Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.
We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to email@example.com