Employers in the private sector were urged by the labor department to uphold the rights of the Filipino workers to security of tenure and help the government to curb illegal forms of contractualization or ‘endo.’
In a luncheon meeting with the officers and members of the European Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines (ECCP) in Makati Shangri-la, Makati City, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said he is optimistic that President Rodrigo Duterte will sign the Security of Tenure (SOT) bill.
The SOT bill is one of DOLE’s priority legislative measures that has been certified as urgent by the President. It aims to amend the Labor Code on the prohibition of labor-only contracting and other provisions that allow contracting arrangements.
“Some employers take advantage of the word ‘probationary employees’. They hire workers who are supposed to undergo the six-month probationary status. However, the workers are terminated before the end of the said period. That is what we call ‘endo.’ In fairness to ECOP, they promise that no member will ever again practice endo. We hope that the members of ECCP will do the same,” Bello said.
Bello cited examples where waiters working for a hotel and salesladies in malls should be deemed regular employees and not be outsourced by the principal because the nature of their job is directly related to the business of the establishment.
“You cannot operate a hotel without waiters, and without salesgirls, you cannot sell merchandise in malls. Likewise, they should be regular employees. That is the essence of the SOT bill,” Bello explained.
The labor chief differentiated the simplified categories for work employment indicated in the bill, which are regular, probationary, project-based, and seasonal workers.
“The bill has simplified work status in these four categories. For instance, during Christmas or enrolment season, customers go to the mall to buy notebooks and educational supplies, so you need to beef up your sales staff who will attend to a large number of customers. You can hire them from legitimate service providers and they are called ‘seasonal workers’ and by law, this is allowed,” the labor chief added.
Undersecretary Ana Dione, who was with Secretary Bello during the open forum, said under the SOT bill, employers are given the opportunity to determine industries where a certain job should be directly related to the business of the company and it will be discussed in the Tripartite council conferences.
The ECCP is a membership organization which have close to 800 members. It is a bilateral foreign chamber that promotes European interests in the Philippines and vice versa. It provides business opportunities, facilitates business contacts, and provides market intelligence research for European and Philippine companies.