“In our steadfast effort to reform the labor inspection system in the country so it will perform at par with international standards, we guarantee that the new breed of Labor Laws Compliance Officers (LLCOs), formerly called labor inspectors, are among the ‘cream of the crop’ in the Department.”
This was the statement of Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz at a press conference yesterday, where she lauded the DOLE’s 574 LLCOs who are tasked to implement the new Labor Laws Compliance System, the reform that seeks to ensure that all establishments and workplaces nationwide are compliant with all labor laws and health and safety regulations.
“The happy burden, but serious responsibility of making sure the new LLCS succeed rests with the able shoulders of the 574 LLCOs,” said Baldoz. They are the ones who can make the system wok,” she said.
The Labor Laws Compliance System (LLCS), a developmental approach to labor inspection that aims to achieve improved work conditions, good employer-employee relations, and enhanced work productivity, saw its first full year of implementation in 2014, with the 574 LLCOs doing the yeoman’s work.
Baldoz bared that when President Benigno S. Aquino III gave the DOLE 372 additional positions for the LLCS, what was on her mind was the 2009 ILO Audit of the country’s labor inspection system, some of the findings of which was that besides their being few in number, the actual tasks of the inspectors were incongruous with their job description and that hiring did not seriously consider require skills and attributes. Thus, the ILO recommendation that job description should be reflective of actual tasks.
“From there, I said we will be careful in hiring people for the 372 new plantilla positions, and we did. Not only did we do due diligence in search and selection, but when we have hired them, we trained them and provided them with support resources,” she said.
The labor and employment chief said that upon meeting the qualifications and being accepted for the position, the LLCOs went through an intensive, four-level training program which consists of the following courses:
(1) Basic Course on GLS, Productivity, and DOLE Programs and Services;
(2) Basic Occupational Safety and Health;
(3) Advanced Course for LLCOs on SEnA, Conciliation-Mediation, and Accident Investigation; and
(4) Specialization Courses on POEA Rules and Regulations and on MLC, 2006, specifically the conduct of Joint Assessment of Domestic Ships, Construction Safety, Social Audit, Boilers and Pressure Vessels, Electrical Safety, and Technical Safety Inspection.
In line with this, the Bureau of Working Conditions, in conjunction with the Human Resource Development Service, facilitated in 2013 and 2014 a series of capacity-building activities for the LLCOs. Thus, when the LLCS was finally implemented, a total of 11 training – four in Level 1A and seven in Level 1B Basic Course for Labor Laws Compliance Officers – have been held in various regions that benefitted 395 LLCOs.
In 2014, another 11 training were also held – six in Level 1A, two in Level 1B, and three in Technical Safety Inspection. These benefitted 396 LLCOs nationwide.
“We were very active in training our new LLCOs. Some of the training modalities we used were actual plant visits, sharing of LLCO’s experiences, and role-playing, which were found helpful in understanding the duties and responsibilities of the positions,” Baldoz explained.
The LLCOs are young, between the 30-39 years old bracket; most are males, and majority are licensed engineers or nurses. Their background enables them to apply their knowledge and skills on matters related to occupational safety and health.
Baldoz said the LLCOs are competent for the job, having met the minimum qualification standards of seniority (Senior Labor and Employment Officer or Labor and Employment Officer III); certified by the Human Resource Development Service as passer of Level 1A or Level 1B Basic Course for Labor Law Compliance Officers; with very satisfactory performance rating; and with certificate of good standing from the Bureau of Working Conditions. To further guide their actions, the LLCOs also have to abide by their own Code of Conduct.
Baldoz said the DOLE’s careful and diligent selection of LLCOs have paid off.
“After one year in their new jobs, most of the employers rate the LLCOs as possessing the right knowledge, skills set, and values during the assessment of their establishments,” Baldoz said, citing the Employers’ Feedback Report for 2014 that accompany the LLCS.
The feedback shows that 97 percent of the 1,001 employers who appraised the LLCOs on their knowledge rated them as having excellent know-how on labor laws, DOLE programs and services, and facilitating compliance to labor laws.
On the other hand, 77 percent of the 2,027 who assessed the LLCOs on their skills set, rated them as also having excellent ability to put the employer at ease, to be polite and considerate, to listen and give enough time to explain, and to assess compliance efforts.
Finally, 73 percent of the 869 who provided feedback on the values of the LLCOs rated them as being honest, trustworthy, and dependable.
I am proud of our LLCOs. Many of them have received unsolicited rave reviews of their performance, of their facilitative approach, and their skills and knowledge in the jobs,” she said.
The 574 LLCOs, given authority by the Secretary herself to assess establishments per region, are distributed regionally as follows: National Capital Region (NCR) – 169; Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) – 15; Region 1 – 20; Region 2 – 12; Region 3 – 55; Region 4A – 78; Region 4B – 14; Region 5 – 17; Region 6 – 34; Region 7 – 46; Region 8 – 14; Region 9 – 15; Region 10 – 26; Region 11 – 31; Region 12 – 17 and CARAGA – 11.
The LLCOs, tasked to conduct joint assessment, compliance visit, occupational safety and health standards investigation, technical safety inspection, and special assessment or visit of establishments, help propagate a culture of voluntary compliance by informing all establishments and workplaces of labor standards as well as DOLE programs and services, for free.