DOLE reminds private sector of rules on pay, work suspension during calamities

Robie de Guzman   •   January 13, 2020   •   4115

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Monday reminded employers in the private sector of the rules on pay and work suspension mandated by the law during times of natural or man-made calamities.

In an advisory dated January 13, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III cited Article 5 of the Labor Code of the Philippines, which states that, “Except as provided for by law or appropriate proclamation, employers in the private sector shall, in the exercise of management prerogative and in coordination with the safety and health committee, or safety officer, or any other responsible company officer, suspend work to ensure the safety and health of their employees during natural or man-made calamity.”

Bello also reminded employers to observe the following rules on wages during calamities:

  1. If unworked – no pay, unless there is a favorable company policy, practice, or collective bargaining agreement (CBA) granting payment of wages on said day. When the employee has accrued leave credits, he/she may be allowed to utilize such leave so that he/she will have compensation on said days.
  2. If worked – no additional pay shall be given to the employees but only their salary on said day.

To alleviate the plight of employees in times of natural or man-made calamity, Bello said employers may provide such extra incentives or benefits to employees who reported to work on the said days.

The labor chief also noted section 3 of the Labor Code which gives assurance to employees “who fail or refuse to work by reason of imminent danger resulting from natural or man-made calamity shall not be exposed to or subject to any administrative sanction.”

Malacañang on Sunday declared the suspension of work in several government offices and classes in areas affected by the ash fall brought about by the phreatic explosion of the Taal Volcano.

Ash fall from Taal Volcano blanketed parts of Metro Manila, Calabarzon and Central Luzon.

Taal Volcano is currently on Alert Level 4 which means that hazardous explosive eruption is imminent within hours or days, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology.

DOLE ‘ready to extend’ assistance to ABS-CBN workers affected by shutdown

Marje Pelayo   •   July 15, 2020

MANILA, Philippines –  The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Tuesday (July 14) said it is “ready to extend” assistance to all workers of ABS-CBN Corp. who will be displaced as a result of Congress’ denial of the media giant’s application for new franchise. 

“We are ready to extend the necessary assistance to all employees who may be displaced as a result of the congressional action,” Labor Undersecretary Ana Dione said in a statement.

The official emphasized that while the agency sympathizes with what happened, the network must ensure that all employees who are likely to be terminated, will receive their separation benefits as mandated by law.

“Should termination, reduction or displacement of workforce become unavoidable, the first thing that ABS-CBN should do is compensate the employees because it is legally bound to pay separation benefits to those who will be retrenched or terminated,” she said.

Dione said the agency is now in the process of determining the exact number of employees of the network who will be affected by the retrenchment.

“If they truly care for their workers, then the network is morally bound to give them all pays and emoluments that the law provides,” the official said of ABS-CBN.

READ: ABS-CBN to stay off-air after House panel junks bid for new 25-year franchise

On July 10, the House Committee on Legislative Franchises denied ABS-CBN’s bid for a fresh 25-year franchise, ending its 34 years of broadcasting on free TV. 

The network claims that around 11.000 of its employees are likely to be laid off as a result of the decision.

Bodies of dead OFWs from Saudi Arabia to be flown home starting Friday – DOLE

Robie de Guzman   •   July 8, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvester Bello III on Wednesday said that the remains of overseas Filipino workers who died in Saudi Arabia will be brought home in batches starting Friday.

Bello said the first batch will be comprised of 44 bodies of deceased OFWs – 19 of whom succumbed to novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) while the others died of various causes.

The remains will arrive at the Villamor Airbase via a chartered flight on July 10.

Bello said those who died from COVID-19 will be immediately brought to a crematorium for cremation. Their ashes will then be turned over to their families.

For OFWs who died of natural causes, the labor chief said that their remains may be claimed by their relatives or sent to their respective provinces.

The second batch of OFW remains will arrive on Sunday. A total of 274 remains of OFWs will be flown home from Saudi Arabia.

Bello said the bodies will be repatriated in batches because they cannot bring them home all at once due to stringent protocols and requirements.

“Unahin muna natin yung nakumpleto ang papeles kasi ang hirap ng mga papeles dito. Meron from the Ministry of Labor, meron Ministry of Foreign Affairs nila, ospital kung saan galing yung labi. Ang pinakamahirap yung consent ng employer ang ating mga kababayan,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) assured it will extend aid to the families of deceased workers.

OWWA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac said the families of both active and inactive members of the agency will receive financial assistance.

“Bereavement financial assistance at a minimum for inactive OWWA members and then there is an additional death and burial benefit for the active OWWA member in addition to other related benefits like livelihood. But there will be a minimun financial basic assistance for all,” Cacdac said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Mon Jocson/Jaycel Valera)

DOLE denounces ABS-CBN’s claim of compliance with labor practices

Marje Pelayo   •   July 2, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Wednesday (July 1) denounced the claims made by lawyers and officials of ABS-CBN Corporation that it found the network compliant with labor laws and standards.

In a statement, the labor department said it “denounces attempts by lawyers and officials of ABS-CBN to misrepresent its position to deceive members of the House of Representatives in its bid to gain congressional approval for a new franchise.”

Additionally, DOLE denied ABS-CBN’s claim that the department approves of the firm’s seasonal work status for its program employees.

DOLE said its inspectors found violations of labor practices on the part of ABS-CBN but added that “the company took steps to correct those infractions.”

“It is therefore patently misleading to attribute to us the claim that ABS-CBN is a compliant company,” the agency said adding that there are actually 67 pending cases against ABS-CBN in the National Labor Relation Commission (NLRC) and in various courts.

“We also warn the broadcast firm’s counsels against wrongfully presenting policy issuances of the department to the advantage of their client,” DOLE said.

“The cited rule governing the employee-employer relationship in the broadcast industry 40 years ago, which is not aligned with the provisions of the Labor Code, does not anymore apply to date,” it added.

The labor department said it will not let the matter pass.

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