A bill that aims to stop labor contractualization that denies workers security of tenure guaranteed by the Constitution has been filed by Sen. Aquilino Pimentel 3rd.
Pimentel, in filing Senate Bill (SB) 3030, stated that the Philippine Constitution provides that “the State affirms labor as a primary social economic force,” and that “it shall protect the rights of workers and promote their welfare.”
SB 3030 seeks to amend Presidential Decree 442 or the Labor Code of the Philippines to strengthen the prohibition against labor-only contracting.
The labor code prohibits labor-only contracting or an arrangement where a contractor or sub-contractor merely recruits, supplies or places workers to perform a job, work or service for a principal.
But, according to Pimentel, there are employers who wantonly circumvent labor laws through a system that is designed to prevent workers from attaining regular employment and security of tenure.
He said some employers manage to get away with it by terminating employment every five months and thereafter rehiring the same workers for the same duration, or by denying the existence of employer-employee relationship by engaging the services of workers either from workers’ cooperatives or manpower services.
“These prevalent practices of labor contractualization have made it difficult for workers to attain the security of tenure guaranteed by the Constitution,” Pimentel noted.
In his proposal, the senator seeks to prohibit employers from taking undue advantage of the economic situation or lack of bargaining strength of the employees or undermining their security of tenure.
He wants to make it unlawful for employers to require contractual employees from discharging functions that are currently being performed by regular employees and to strengthen the prohibition against employers who require contractual employees to sign as precondition to employment or continued employment an antedated resignation letter, a blank payroll and a waiver or labor standards, including minimum wages and social or labor benefits.
“The proposed measure will put an end to the malpractice that has victimized tens of thousands of workers nationwide,” Pimentel said.
Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. earlier condemned the practice of contractualization, particularly the so-called “5-5-5” labor contract, which, according to him, is becoming an industry standard.
Under the “5-5-5” scheme, a contractual employee is hired and fired every five months by employers.
“There is one contractual worker for every three rank-and-file among the country’s entire workforce who are underpaid and barred from receiving additional financial benefits on top of their basic pay,” said Marcos, who expressed willingness to assist the Labor department if he is elected Vice President next year.
Marcos also noted that contractualization is becoming rampant but the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) seems to turn a blind eye to it.
“There is a need to put a tight grip on the compliance of laws governing contractual employees. This should go hand in hand with strict monitoring from DOLE,” he said.