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Friday, October 22, 2021

Labor department gears up for stricter measures to address ‘endo’

THE Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) will soon implement stricter measures on ending contractualization in Western Visayas, Including Negros Occidental.

Dole-Western Visayas Director Johnson Cañete, who attended the launching of the ec-Ulat.me Project in Bacolod City Tuesday, October 24, said there are still reported contractualization cases in the region.

Cañete said stopping “endo” or the end of contract scheme remains as directive and campaign of President Rodrigo Duterte covered by the Labor Laws Compliance System (LLCS), which is developmental in approach and voluntary in nature.

The Dole-Western Visayas, he said, is still asking companies to comply through submission of their own schedule of regularization for their contractual employees.

“Nevertheless, as we start the new inspection mode in the country next month, this is the time that we will be stricter in monitoring compliance to the mandate,” Cañete added.

On October 21, the Dole issued Department Order (DO) 183 reverting the LLCS function from assessment to inspection.

It means that effective November 5, labor law compliance officers will now be again called labor inspectors, Cañete said.

The order provided that surprise inspections will be conducted by virtue of the Secretary's visitorial power among all private establishments.

This is unlike the previous system wherein establishments are informed first prior to the visit, he added.

Earlier this year, Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello III signed DO No. 174 that sets stricter guidelines for contractualization, and superseding DO No. 18 providing the original guidelines on contracting and subcontracting.

Labor groups had earlier slammed the agency citing that the new rules still allow "legal" contractualization.

Under the DO, labor-only contracting, or the practice of merely recruiting or supplying workers to perform a job or work for an employer, is prohibited.

It limits "endo" through prohibition of continuous hiring of workers under a repeated contract of short duration by contractor and subcontractor like manpower agency.

The new guidelines also prohibit the “cabo” system and contracting work from an in-house agency or cooperative, due to a strike and those performed by union leaders to ensure employees' rights to self-organization.

Dole will not allow requiring employees to sign shorter-term contract and compelling agency-hired workers to do jobs being performed by regular employees of the principal company, it stated.

For Western Visayas, Cañete said part of their stringent measures on monitoring local firms include checking on whether workers in the establishments that are directly related to the businesses are being regularized.

Only workers in the company that are not directly related to the business can be contracted out through legitimate service contractors.

Works provided like security and janitorial are safe contracting out arrangement, Cañete said, pointing out that "contracting and subcontracting" are still provided in the labor code.

"DO 174 is in constant implementation. The President has given us 2017 as the compliance date, but like his war on drugs, it might be also extended," he said.

Labor inspectors in the region continue the monitoring, assessment, and now inspection, he added.
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