Using the efficiency-tested Single Entry Approach (SEnA) conciliation-mediation mechanism, the Department of Labor and Employment has already facilitated the release of 2,565,397.00 pesos worth of employment benefits to 173 Kasambahay since the inception of SEnA in 2013 and until the first quarter of 2015.

 

The 2015 first quarter settlement totalled to 966,342.60 pesos.

 

Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz, citing the report of NCMB Executive Director Reynaldo R. Ubaldo, said the requests for assistance (RFA) filed included non-payments of salaries, back pay, overtime pay, 13th month pay, service incentive leave, medical incentive; underpayment of wages; and non-remittance of SSS, Philhealth, and Pag-Ibig benefits.

 

“For the January to March 2015, there were 404 new RFA file,” said Ubaldo in his report. “Of this number, 61 or 15 percent were filed by kasambahay in the Philippines, while 343 were filed by household service workers (HSWs) abroad,” Ubaldo said in his report.

 

Adding the 61 new RFA filed to the 15 RFA carried over from 2014, Ubaldo said the NCMB and various DOLE regional offices handled a total of 91 RFA of local kasambahay during the period, 45 of which were promptly disposed of for a 59 per cent disposition rate. Thirty-six of these 45 were settled, and eight were eventually withdrawn.  Four were dropped due to lack of interest, and five were referred for compulsory handling—one to the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC); and four to the DOLE regional offices.

 

Only thirty-one of the 91 requests for assistance (RFA) are currently under conciliation-mediation process as of March 31.  Twelve of them are in the NCMB and 19 are in the DOLE regional offices.

 

“We are also pleased to report to the Secretary that overseas, the POEA continuously ensures the well-being of our HSWs by attending to RFA filed through SEnA,” Ubaldo said.  We have recorded a total of 645 RFA of household service workers during the period,” he added.

 

The referrals for assistance covered such issues as alleged maltreatment, non-payment of salaries, non-refund of travel expense, non-payment of medical assistance, and withholding of return travel documents.

 

Majority, or 470, of these 645 RFA remains pending at the end of the first quarter.  One hundred seventy-five were disposed of, which registered a disposition rate of 27 per cent with the following breakdown: 135 were settled, including 12 RFA withdrawn; 26 were dropped due to lack of interest; and 14 were referred for compulsory handling.  The settlement rate was recorded at 21 per cent.

 

The Single Entry Approach (SeNA) is an administrative mechanism that provides speedy, impartial, inexpensive, and accessible settlement of all labor issues. Under the SEnA, conciliation-mediation is done by Single Entry Approach Desk Officers (SEADOs) who are trained to fast-track settlement of all referred labor and employment cases.

 

“Our conciliators and mediators work round the clock to ensure that the welfare of the workers and the concerns of the employers are both readily addressed. We mutually provide the parties with an accessible venue where just and fair resolution of issues are achieved,” said Secretary Baldoz.

 

Over the last two years, a total of 3,793 RFA were filed by Kasambahay for SEnA.  Of these RFA, 324 were filed by local kasambahay, and 3,454 were filed by overseas-based household service workers.

 

It can be recalled that the DOLE’s SEnA team won the Lingkod Bayan Award for its outstanding performance in providing speedy, impartial, inexpensive and accessible settlement of labor issues through conciliation and mediation.

 

According to the NCMB, the SEnA is a reform measure enacted by Secretary Baldoz in 2010 under Department Order No. 107 pursuant to the 22-point Labor and Employment Agenda of President Benigno S. Aquino III. Under this reform, the DOLE and its attached agencies are mandated to strictly follow a 30-day mandatory conciliation-mediation process for all cases so that these will not mature into full-blown, legal proceedings.

 

The Single Entry Approach (SENA) was established in pursuit of the goal of President Benigno S. Aquino III in his 22-point labor and employment agenda.  The 30-day mandatory conciliation-mediation approach is a reform program that answers President Aquino’s directive to the DOLE to reform labor arbitration and adjudication systems by streamlining procedures, removing red tape, and at the same time, restore integrity and fairness in the system and to ensure that labor cases are disposed of with quality decisions.

 

The Department Order No. 107-10 prescribes the guidelines on the reform measure by virtue of the mandate of Section 3, Article XIII of the 1987 Constitution on the preferential use of voluntary modes of dispute settlement; Article 211 of the Labor Code, as amended; the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Act of 2004; and Executive Order No. 523 instituting the use of ADR for the speedy resolution of all disputes before the administrative bodies of the Executive Department.

 

END/GSR

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