MORE than 2,000 workers from three giant retails shops in this city stand to benefit from the end of contractualization or “endo,” but their fate largely depends on the final approval of a new policy banning the said labor practice.

More than a month ago, labor department inspectors found that many workers of Robinsons Place Tacloban, Gaisano Capital, and Gaisano Central are only contractual workers.

“We’re supposed to decide on this since it’s been more than 30 days since we got the findings, but we have to wait for the new department order to make sure that the decision of our hearing officers is consistent with the national policy and existing laws,” said Department of labor and Employment (Dole) Regional Information Virgilio Doroja Jr.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III released on December 28 the Department Order (DO) 30, mandating manpower services firms to hire workers as regulars, receiving full benefits like leave credits, 13th month pay as well as retirement, social security, and health insurance plans, among others.

President Rodrigo Duterte reportedly refused to sign the new directive as the chief executive insisted that companies and not the contractor should directly hire regular workers.

“This is what we want to resolve now as to who will assume the responsibility of making these workers regular. We have to wait and see,” Doroja added.

DO 30 is set to replace the DO 18-A, or the rules implementing the Articles 106 to 109 of the Labor Code.

Under the new directive, manpower agencies are mandated to hire regular workers and pay them salaries even after the end of service agreement contract with companies. Contractors are also ordered to deploy workers to another firm within three months after a service agreement.

The Dole adopted two tracks in eliminating illegitimate contractualization, including labor-only contracting or “endo.”

In the first track, the Dole regional offices conducted a series of consultations and meetings to encourage employers to voluntarily regularize workers who are under “endo” and labor-only contracting arrangements.

For the second track, labor laws compliance officers inspected establishments, principals, and contractors which are practicing labor-only contracting arrangements.

Those found to be engaged in labor-only contracting are subjected to mandatory conferences to assist them in their compliance with labor standards

As of end of 2016, there were already 1,200 workers in the private sector hired as employees since the Dole Eastern Visayas launched the campaign, above the regional target of 1,000 workers, according to Doroja. (PNA)