To streamline and effectively implement Republic Act No. 10917 or the amended Special Program for Employment of Students (SPES), Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III recently signed its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR), or Department Order No. 175.
SPES is one of the Department of Labor and Employment’s youth employment-bridging programs which aims to provide beneficiaries with short-term job opportunities during summer and/or Christmas vacation or any time of the year to help them continue their education in any secondary, tertiary, or technical-vocational institution.
Through the amended SPES law, the age qualification of applicants has been raised from 15 to 25 years old to 15 to 30 years old, at the time of application.
The program has also expanded its reach by targeting not only the poor but deserving students, but also the out-of-school youth, or those who are not enrolled in a formal educational or training institution; and dependents, whether student or out-of-school youth, of displaced or would-be displaced workers due to business closures, work stoppages, or natural calamities.
Another amendment in the SPES law is the extended period of employment. From the previous 20 to 52 days, SPES beneficiaries may now be employed from 20 to 78 days; except during Christmas vacation when employment is from 10 to 15 days only.
Services rendered during the period of employment relevant and related to the course of the beneficiary may have equivalent academic and practicum or on-the-job training credits as may be determined by appropriate government agencies; while the period of employment of SPES beneficiaries who were eventually hired as employees by the same employer shall form part of their probationary period.
As to remuneration, 60 percent of the salary of student beneficiaries is paid by employers (private or public) in cash while the remaining 40 percent is shouldered by the government, to be paid also in cash.
Low-income local government units (LGUs), on the other hand, may submit a letter to the DOLE regional director requesting the DOLE to shoulder a higher percentage share in the salary of SPES beneficiaries based on the following schemes: up to 75 percent share for 6th class municipality; up to 60 percent for 5th class municipality; and up to 50 percent share for 4th class municipality or 6th class province.
SPES beneficiaries will also now be entitled to an insurance coverage under the Group Personal Accident Insurance of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) for a period of one year.
Signed by Secretary Bello on March 20, the IRR shall take effect after 15 days from the date of publication in any two newspapers of general circulation or in the Official Gazette.
END/aldm/with reports from BLE