Employers group says 14th month pay bill to burden small businesses

Robie de Guzman   •   July 3, 2019   •   2083

MANILA, Philippines – The Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) on Wednesday warned against the possible effects of the bill requiring the private sector to grant its workers 14th-month pay.

ECOP President Sergio R. Ortiz-Luis Jr. said institutionalizing the grant of 14th-month pay could break the operations of small, micro and medium businesses, cause inflation to spike and the Philippines to lose its competitiveness against its Southeast Asian peers.

Ortiz-Luis made the statement after Senator Vicente Sotto III refiled a measure seeking to require private companies to grant 14th-month pay.

On Monday (July 1), Sotto said he is pushing for the bill anew to increase the wage benefits of private employees amid continued increase in prices of basic goods.

The Senate bill no. 10 covers all non-government rank-and-file employees regardless of status, designation and method by which their wages are paid, provided that they have worked at least a month during the calendar year.

The bill proposes that the minimum amount of the 14th month pay shall not be less than 1/12 of the total basic salary earned by the employee within the calendar year.

It also seeks the 13th month pay to be paid not later than June 14, and the 14th month pay be provided not later than December 24 of every year.

The Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) has expressed support for the measure, saying it is high time for Filipino workers to receive higher wage benefits.

“Pababa ng pababa ‘yung kanilang purchasing power ng kanilang sahod. Pero ‘yung ating ekonomiya, ‘yung mga negosyo, at ‘yung kaban ng gobyerno, yumayaman,” said Alan Tanjusay, spokesperson for ALU-TUCP.

But the employers’ group said the bill fails to understand the dynamics of the Philippine labor market as this would only leave small and micro establishments with two options to shoulder higher labor cost: increase their product prices or reduce their work force.

“So kapag mataas ang increases, ang choice lang naman nung mga ‘yan eh, either itataas nila ‘yung presyo nila, kung kaya mong bilhin ang bagong presyo, at kung hindi naman, nagbabawas ng tao ‘yan,” he told UNTV News and Rescue in a phone interview.

“Ganyan ang nangyayari taon-taon, kaya palaki nang palaki ‘yung mga underemployed at saka unemployed,” he added.

Ortiz-Luis noted that nearly 90 percent of the establishments in the country belong to the micro, eight percent belong to the small establishments while two percent belong to medium and large enterprises.

As such, adding a 14th month pay requirement to workers would push employers to increase the prices of their products and services, which would then result to higher inflation rate in the country.

The Department of Labor and Employment, for its part, said it is open to hear the merits of the measure and is currently studying its feasibility. (with details from Harlene Delgado)

Aplikasyon para sa one-time P5,000 ayuda sa mga empleyado simula na – DOLE

Robie de Guzman   •   January 24, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – Simula ngayong Lunes, Enero 24, ay tatanggap na ng aplikasyon ang Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) para sa P5,000 one-time cash assistance sa mga manggagawang labis na naapektuhan ng paghihigpit ng COVID-19 restrictions.

Ayon sa DOLE, P1 bilyon ang inilaang pondo para sa program na ang layon ay matulungan ang mga manggagawang lubhang naapektuhan sa pagsasailalim sa Alert Level 3 sa mga lugar na may mataas na COVID-19 cases.

Halos 200,000 manggagawa ang maaaring makatanggap ng ayuda sa ilalim ng COVID-19 Adjustment Measure Program (CAMP), ayon sa DOLE.

Pero paglilinaw ni DOLE Assistant Secretary Dominique Rubia-Tutay, hindi makakasama sa mga beneficiary ang mga empleyado ng gobyerno na nasa flexible work arrangement.

“Uunahin po natin sa priority iyong mga manggagawa na naapektuhan ng permamnent closure or retrenchment,” ayon sa opisyal.

“Kasama rin po sa aayudahan natin or bibigyan ng financial assistance iyong mga manggagawa under temporary closure,” dagdag pa niya.

Sa mga manggagawang nais mag-avail ng programa, maaari silang magsumite ng aplikasyon sa DOLE sa pamamagitan ng reports.dole.gov.ph.

 

Mga manggagawa, hindi saklaw ng ‘no vax, no ride’ policy sa NCR – DOLE

Robie de Guzman   •   January 18, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – Hindi saklaw ng ipinaiiral na “no vaccination, no ride” policy sa mga pampublikong sasakyan sa National Capital Region (NCR) ang mga manggagawa kahit sila ay hindi bakunado kontra COVID-19.

Ang paglilinaw ay ginawa ng Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) kasunod ng mga batikos sa polisiyang ipinatutupad ng Department of Transportation (DOTr) at ulat na ilang manggagawa ang hindi pinasakay sa mga pampasaherong bus dahil hindi pa kumpleto ang bakuna.

Ayon kay Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, hindi dapat pigilan ang mga manggagawa na lumabas ng bahay at sumakay sa mga pampublikong sasakyan dahil sila ay maituturing na essential workers na nagbibigay ng mahahalagang serbisyo sa publiko.

“‘Pag hininto mo mga iyan, papaano gagalaw ang ating mga negosyo? ‘Pag walang negosyo, walang ekonomiya. So, luckily exempted po ang ating mga workers,” ang paliwanag ni Bello.

Kailangan lamang ay magpakita ng company identification card ang mga empleyado upang sila ay payagang makabiyahe kahit hindi pa fully vaccinated.

Bunsod nito, nais paigtingin ng DOLE ang information dribe sa naturang exemption upang lubos itong maintidihan ng publiko.

“Kailangan lang siguro more massive information drive to inform especially not only the public but especially the enforcing enforcement agencies – mga pulis, mga taga-DOTr, alam nila dapat ang mga workers are exempted from this no vax no ride policy,” ang wika ni Bello.

Sa panig naman ng DOTr, sinabi ng ahensiya na hindi absolute ang “no vaccination, no ride” policy dahil may exemption naman ang pagpapatupad nito.

Una nang sinabi ng DOTr na hindi saklaw ng panuntunan ang mga indibidwal na hindi nababakunahan dahil sa medikal na kondisyon at ang mga lumalabas ng bahay para sa essential goods and services.

Ngunit paalala ng kagawaran, dapat may maipakitang kaukulang dokumento gaya ng medical certificate o iba pang katunayan ang isang indibiduwal upang ma-exempt sila sa nasabing polisiya.

Kung may medical check-up o examination, magtatrabaho, bibili ng essential goods, mag-a-apply ng lisensya, passport at iba pa, kailangan lang din na magpakita ng mga pruweba ng pagpunta sa mga kaukulang lugar gaya ng identification card sa mga empleyado, medical o exam appointment, barangay health pass at iba pa.

Kung fully vaccinated na, dapat ay dala ang vaccination card.

Ikinokonsiderang fully vaccinated ang isang indibidwal dalawang linggo matapos matanggap ang second dose ng bakuna.

Iiral ang “no vaccination, no ride” policy sa mga pampublikong sasakyan sa Metro Manila hangga’t nakataas ang COVID-19 Alert Level 3 o higit pa. (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Asher Cadapan Jr.)

Labor dept asks employers to provide workers with paid isolation, quarantine leave benefits

Robie de Guzman   •   January 17, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Monday urged employers in the private sector to provide paid leave benefits to workers who have to undergo isolation or quarantine period due to COVID-19.

In a labor advisory, DOLE said this is to “ensure safe and humane working conditions” amid the rising cases of coronavirus in the country.

The labor department said employers in the private sector are encouraged to adopt and implement appropriate paid isolation and quarantine leave program, on top of the existing leave benefits under the company policy. Leave benefits under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Labor Code of the Philippines, and special laws should be separately applied.

“The paid isolation and quarantine leaves shall be without prejudice to other benefits provided by the Social Security System and the Employees Compensation Commission,” it added.

DOLE said its advisory applies to all establishments, employers, and their employees in the private sector.

Under the updated guidelines from the Department of Health, fully vaccinated COVID-19 patients who are asymptomatic or with mild symptoms need to isolate for seven days while those who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated need to complete the isolation period for 10 days.

The isolation period for moderate cases is 10 days while those with severe and critical symptoms, and immunocompromised would have to isolate for 21 days.

The quarantine period for fully vaccinated asymptomatic close contacts has been shortened to five days.

Isolation is for individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 while quarantine is for those who have been exposed and can possibly develop an infection.

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