LABOR sub-contracting will be removed under the new guidelines of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on contractualization to protect workers from being victimized by fly-by-night contractors.
DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello 3rd on Wednesday disclosed that the abolition of labor sub-contracting is one of the salient features of the new Department Order 30, which will replace the existing DO 18-A even as he said contractualization allowed by law will remain.
Bello explained that even if they wanted to, the DOLE, on its own, could not implement or order a total ban on all forms of contractualization as demanded by the labor sector because only Congress can amend the law.
“We will replace DO 18-A with DO 30, which [contains]the implementing guidelines of the law on contractualization. But we cannot impose a total ban because the law allows contractualziation. It needs legislation,” he said.
The Labor department did not release the official copy of DO 30, saying it would be made public instead next week.
DOLE Undersecretary Dominador Say also explained that DO 18-A allows contracting and sub-contracting, saying there would only be one contractor under the new DO.
Say pointed out that pending cases for regularization of workers would be much easier to address because the determination would come either from the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) or from the DOLE regional director concerned.
“Second, the process of addressing prayers for regularization would now be easy as the employees have a choice if they want to go the NLRC or the regional director will declare it as regular employment,” he said.
It is a deviation, Say added, from the old system wherein the employees would first go to the NLRC and then all way to the Supreme Court if the parties will appeal before one can be declared a regular employee.
“So there will only be one door, one step. We will shorten the process,” he said.
According to Say, all accredited contractors would also be required to post a bond registration, which is equivalent to 50 percent of the basic monthly minimum wage of the total number of employees hired.
The bond, he said, would serve as a safeguard if the contractor encountered problems on payment of salaries of workers.
DO 30 also requires the principal, which is the firm or establishment, to look for alternate jobs for the employees within three months after termination of the services of the contractor.
If no alternate job is provided after three months, the principal will have to give the employee separation pay.
Say said another feature that would be possibly incorporated in DO 30 is the granting of three months’ bonus as financial assistance to unemployed workers who are waiting for their next job.
“During the three months that an employee is out of job, he will be given a bonus financial assistance by his employer equivalent to half-month salary per month,” he added.
The financial assistance, however, should be paid by the employee in installments once he got alternative employment.
But organized labor maintained that they would still seek a total ban on all forms of contractualization either through amendments to the Labor Code or for President Rodrigo Duterte to certify as urgent a pending bill in Congress that prohibits all fixed-term work contracts and criminalizes violations.