Senate panel OKs bill prohibiting labor-only contracting
A bill that would prohibit labor-only contracting or “endo” in the country and impose a P5-million fine for violators has been approved by the the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment, and Human Resources Development.
Sen. Joel Villanueva, chairman of the committee, said the bill would also give the secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment the power “to preventively or permanently close the operations of any labor-only contractor.”
“Ang ‘endo’ at labor-only contracting ay labag sa karapatan ng mga manggagawa,” Villanueva said in a statement issued on Wednesday. “Dapat na po itong tuldukan sapagkat hangga’t nakalutang po ang isyu ng ‘endo’ at pang-aabuso sa kontraktwalisasyon, patuloy na maiipit ang mga manggagawa, nasasakripisyo ang trabaho, hindi makakausad ang bayan.”
“Kapag dehado ang mga manggagawa, walang panalo,” he added. “Lahat po ay talo kabilang na ang mga mamumuhunan at negosyo. Ang mas makataong pagtrato sa ating mga manggagawa at pamamalakad ng ating mga negosyo ay nakatutulong sa husay at pagiging produktibo ng ating mga negosyo at ekonomiya. Kaya ang paglutas ng problemang ‘endo’ ay hindi lamang interes ng ating mga manggagawa kung hindi interes din ng mga investors at business owners – nating lahat.”
According to Villanueva, labor-only contracting happens when a job contractor merely recruits and supplies workers to a contractee or the workers supplied by the job contractor are performing activities which are directly related to the core business of the said contractee or are under the control and supervision of the contractee.
In cases of labor-only contracting, he said, the job contractor should be considered merely an agent, and the contractee should be responsible to the workers as if they were directly employed by the contractee.
“Further, in all cases where labor-only contracting is present, the workers shall be regularized by the contractee, retroactive to the date they were first deployed to the said contractee, without prejudice to any criminal, civil, or administrative case against the labor-only contractor and the contractee,” the senator said.
Once passed into law, Villanueva said, the measure would remove the “ambiguities” in the Labor Code, which he said is the source of circumventions.
The senator enumerated the following salient features of the bill:
- Prohibits labor-only contracting, and provide penalties for violation
- Limits job contracting to licensed and specialized services
- Classifies workers into regular and probationary employees – and treat project and seasonal employees as regular employees
- Provides security of tenure
- Clarifies standards on probationary employment
- Provides a “Transition Support Program” for employees while they are not at work or transitioning in between jobs
“Being caught in the cycle of intermittent ‘endo’ with no prospect of permanency derogates the Constitutionally guaranteed rights of workers, especially the right to security of tenure,” Villanueva said. /atm
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