LAWMAKERS on Wednesday challenged President Rodrigo Duterte to certify as urgent a bill seeking to end contractualization in the country.
In a news conference, Rep. Sarah Elago of Kabataan party-list made an example of mall operator SM and other huge firms allegedly hiring employees as underpaid casuals.
“We challenge President Duterte to make good on his words by making an example out of SM and all other big companies notorious for hiring employees on a contractual basis, with low pay and little to no benefits,” she said.
“What good is the promise to end contractualization if the government will not first go after the big fish in ‘endo’? There is clearly a need for the President to set a clear example that will send the message that his administration is serious in his campaign [against contractualization],” Elago added.
“Endo” or “end of contract” only after five months of employment is a way out for employers not to make employees regular workers who are entitled to benefits under the law.
The law says probationary employees, such as contractuals, are deemed regular ones after six months.
Duterte on Monday warned the companies practicing “endo” to follow the law without any audit by the Labor department or he would just shut them down.
“We welcome the President’s pronouncement but if he’s really committed to help Filipino workers, he must certify the Security of Tenure Bill as urgent,” Akbayan party-list Rep. Tom Villarin said in a statement.
House Bill 341 or the Security of Tenure Bill was filed last June 30, seeking to end “endo.”
The bill provides that employment may be fixed by the term of the project but may not be bound to a mere reference to time; probationary employment will only last for six months when all the employers shall have enough time to ascertain whether a worker is fit for retention; and the deliberate misclassification of employees for the purpose of misleading them on their rights will be considered unfair labor practice.
Villarin urged the Duterte administration and the Labor department to identify all companies notorious for practicing contractualization.
“Until such bill is passed, we urge the President to order [Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello 3rd] to come up with the list of top 1,000 corporations known for practicing contractualization and to monitor these companies’ compliance in the next 3 months,” the lawmaker said.