“DO not be afraid, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is not here to close your companies. Rather, it is here to help you.”
Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello 3rd on Tuesday reiterated his assurance to workers as the government intensifies its campaign to end illegal contractualization, also known as end-of-contract (“endo”) employment.
Bello disclosed that the government has allocated an initial P200-million fund to help workers who will be displaced in the process.
About 250,000 workers are believed employed under the “endo” scheme that circumvents the law mandating employers to regularize workers.
“Endo” is a system where employers hire and fire probationary employees to avoid making them regular employees, depriving workers of benefits that come with being regular employees, such as paid leaves, bonuses, overtime and member contributions to social and health benefits.
Bello said the Labor department will provide affected workers with livelihood assistance so that they could have alternative source of income, while skills training will be given to those who would want to upgrade their competencies for other jobs.
“The livelihood assistance is aimed at helping the displaced worker to have a sustainable self-employment through easy-to-learn livelihood undertakings,” Bello said.
The DOLE will also provide workers who will avail of the livelihood assistance with training on business management, entrepreneurship and production skills to help them manage their business.
The skills training will be provided by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda).
Benjo Santos Benavidez, Bureau of Labor Relations director, earlier said contracting or sub-contracting in itself is not illegal since this is allowed under provisions of the Labor Code of the Philippines.
“Contracting is legal if the contractor or sub-contractor is registered under Department Order No. 18-A or the rules and regulations governing contracting and sub-contracting, carries a distinct and independent business and has a substantial capital or investment,” Benavidez explained.
“Labor-only contracting is an arrangement where the contractor or sub-contractor merely recruits, supplies or places workers to perform job, work or service for a principal; does not have substantial capital or investment; and does not exercise the right of control over the performance of the work of the employee,” he said.
But President Rodrigo Duterte wants to stop any form of contractualization and other similar work arrangements where security of tenure of workers is at the mercy of their employers.
The DOLE is coming out before the year ends with a guideline on employment contractualization, which the labor sector blames as among the causes of the country’s high unemployment rate.
“We will come up with a policy or guideline that will be enforced by the department before the year ends. We will decide whether we will end contractualization, allow contractualization or come up with a balance of the two positions,” Bello said.