Sep 192016

IN SEARCH OF A WIN-WIN SITUATION: A high-level meeting on the implementation of the right to security of tenure, participated in by government officials on trade, labor and entrepreneurship, business leaders and selected members of the House of Representatives, was held recently at the Department of Labor and Employment. Photo shows Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez listening to some members of the business sector following President Duterte’s directive to end labor contractualization and end-of-contract (endo) schemes.

MANILA, Philippines – The Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) is calling for the government to recalibrate its proposal to end labor contractualization and end-of-contract or “endo” schemes to make it a true “win-win” solution.

ECOP president Donald Dee said they are backing the proposal presented by Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez last week but said several adjustments should be made.

“I’m saying we have to adjust that proposal.  That proposal is good but you need adjust it so that labor can accept it. You cannot be so one-sided (because it’s just the agency that shoulders everything) and unfortunately, the reality is the agencies don’t have the financial capabilities if something goes wrong to pay the workers,” Dee said in an interview yesterday.

Under the proposed win-win set-up, workers can be hired by service providers as regulars, receiving full benefits such as leave credits, 13th month pay, as well as retirement, social security and health insurance plans, among others.

Companies, meanwhile, will have the flexibility to either directly hire workers as regular employees or outsource them through service providers, in view of seasonal job functions.

“The main difference between our proposed win-win structure versus the current practice is that the worker is regularized in the service provider with full benefit and permanent status in proposed versus current wherein regular employment with benefits but co-terminus with project. Thus workers can lose their job if the contract with principal companies is terminated,” Lopez explained.

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“Second is that retirement benefit or separation pay will be mandatory versus current where only some do this depending on principals, normally big companies, who would do this and pay a little more to the service provider for the retirement fund of the worker. Thus these should now be mandatory.  In so doing the worker’s tenure is secured in the service provider and he can be redeployed to other principals as needed,” the trade chief added.   

Dee, however, said putting the responsibility heavily on the service providers as proposed under the win-win setup may not be as easy as it sounds given agencies’ limited capital.

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