Hontiveros files bill to protect interns vs exploitation
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Risa Hontiveros has filed a measure that will ensure the rights and welfare of interns against exploitation from companies.
Senate Bill No. 994, or the Interns’ Rights and Welfare Bill, outlines the responsibilities of host training establishments (HTEs) to their interns to establish a “proper and relevant learning experience for them.
“Internship is for students and young people to learn more about the workplace and to deepen their craft. Internship is not an excuse for employers to take advantage of cheap or free labor,” Hontiveros said in a statement.
“Dahil walang employer-employee relationship, maraming nagiging kaso ng exploitation at kawalan ng professional growth. Dapat ang internship, may professional growth talaga. Hindi yung pinagtitimpla ka lang ng kape o nakatunganga buong araw,” she added.
The measure requires companies that opts to employ interns to come up with a contract and program that details the professional training of interns.
It also aims to strengthen the vetting process of schools for HTEs, as the senator said it is the responsibility of schools to accredit reputable companies for their students.
“Hindi pwedeng ipag-intern mo yung mga estudyante sa mga kumpanyang may questionable labor practices na pwedeng maglagay sa kanila sa alanganin,” she added.
The bill also puts a cap on internship hours where internships in the government sector must not exceed 300 hours or last over six months while those that are industry-based and more technical in nature are capped at 600 hours per semester, or equivalent to 15 units per term.
It also protects all interns from any form of workplace abuse and harassment.
Below are other key provisions in Hontiveros’ bill:
-providing basic benefits and remuneration (75% of the prevailing minimum wage in the region for private companies and 75% of Step 1 Salary Grade 1 for interns in the public sector);
-appropriating funds for government agencies to host interns in order to promote public and civil service among young people; and
-a grievance mechanism to address any violation of basic interns’ rights.
“Preparing our young people for the workforce includes a viable internship program that centers on their professional growth”, Hontiveros said.
“Our country’s policy on interns reflects how we value humane and decent work. It is time to put a stop to internship horror stories. It is time to stop the abuse and exploitation of interns as part of our education and labor policies,” she added. /muf
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