More workers are reaping the fruits of Department of Labor and Employment’s extensive enforcement of labor laws, as exemplified by a contractual clerk in Central Visayas who became one of the latest additions to the list of regularized employees in the private sector.
According to DOLE’s Bureau of Working conditions, as of May 12, 2017, DOLE has already regularized 49,222 workers through labor laws compliance consultations and assessments.
“The success of DOLE’s regularization campaign finds meaning in Lesilda D. Cruz of Lahug, Cebu City, a contractual sales clerk at Christine International Philippines, Incorporated who finally received her service incentive leave pay, and appropriate minimum wage, DOLE 7 Regional Director Elias A. Cayanong, in his report to Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III, said.
“A Service Incentive Leave Pay is an employee benefit that enables them to take or avail of leave with pay for five days provided the worker has rendered service for at least one year,” Cayanong said.
Apart from providing the money claims of Cruz, added Cayanong, the employer likewise manifested to absorb the worker, thus finally giving her a regular employment status.
A total of P26,945.00 in monetary claims was awarded to Cruz during the voluntary plant level restitution held at the DOLE Regional Office in the presence of the worker’s employer representatives.
Cruz, 40, used to be engaged with a service provider since the start of her employment. According to DOLE-7 Regional Director Cayanong, Cruz should not have been contracted out in the first place since her function is directly related to the main business operation of Christine International Philippines, Inc., being the principal.
“We are happy upon knowing that the employer voluntarily settled with the affected worker. Voluntary compliance among establishments, like what I repeatedly emphasized during various fora among our social partners, is highly important and is even more effective than having management and the labor sector filing cases against each other,” said DOLE-7 Regional Director Elias A. Cayanong.
In the report of Engineer Ray Martin G. Codiñera, the labor laws compliance officer (LLCO) of DOLE 7 who conducted the Joint Assessment cited that the worker was not afforded with service incentive leave (SIL) and the appropriate daily minimum wage.
A Joint Assessment is the process of evaluating compliance with labor laws and social legislations jointly undertaken by the labor laws compliance officer and representatives of the employees and the employers.
According to Engineer Codiñera, the employer already submitted to the DOLE Cruz’s appointment letter, payroll and proof of coverage and remittance of her social protection benefits – SSS, PhilHealth, and PAG-IBIG.
Article 95 of the Labor Code mandates employers to give their employees a yearly service incentive leave of five days with pay. The SIL shall be granted to a worker who has been in service within 12 months, whether continuous or broken, reckoned from the date the employee started working, including authorized absences and paid regular holidays.
On affording workers with the correct payment of their daily minimum wage, Director Cayanong commented that the minimum wage is the lowest salary rate prescribed by the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWB) for every region. No worker, he said further, should be given less than the prescribed daily minimum wage rates.
The promotion of voluntary compliance using developmental approach, he said, is a supplement to inculcate a culture of compliance with labor laws; ensure fair, expeditious, and non-litigious settlement of disputes; encourage the use of settlement in all labor cases; and strengthen tripartism among the employees, employers and the government.
Under Department Order 131-13 or the Rules on Labor Laws Compliance System (LLCS), the visitorial and enforcement power of the Secretary of Labor and Employment remains as the primary framework in ensuring compliance with labor laws. The conduct of Joint Assessment is one of the measures resorted to by the DOLE’s labor laws compliance officers to determine establishments’ compliance with labor laws and other social legislations.