MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has assured it will closely monitor employers following the signing of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) for the Republic Act 11210 or the Expanded Maternity Leave Act.
The implementing rules for the law were signed on Labor Day (May 1) in San Fernando, Pampanga, months after President Rodrigo Duterte signed the measure in February.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said they will keep watch of companies’ that will discriminate against women in their hiring practices following concerns on the “higher cost implications” of the new law.
“Mayroon naman tayong inspectorial power, puwede naming inspeksyunin yan,” Bello said.
Article 135 of the Philippine Labor Code states that it shall be unlawful for any employer to discriminate against any woman employee with respect to terms and conditions of employment solely on account of her sex.
Bello stressed that employers should hire female workers based on their competence and integrity and that the additional leave benefits for women should not be a concern to employers.
“Ang mga employers, when they hire workers they rise on the basis of their competence and integrity hindi yun sa buntis o sa ganda. It’s on the confidence and integrity of the worker kaya yung dagdag na araw na kanilang leave, it should not be a concern to our employer,” he said.
Under the law, working mothers in private and public sectors – regardless of civil status – will be granted 105 days of paid maternity leave with the option to extend for 30 days without pay.
Solo mothers can get additional 15 days of leave.
The previous law only allowed female workers a 60-day paid maternity leave for normal childbirth and 78 days for cesarean delivery.
Husbands can also benefit from the new law as it includes a provision allowing the allocation of seven maternity leave days to fathers. This is on top of the seven-day paternity leave provided under the Paternity Leave Act of 1996.
Bello also said that instead of raising concern on the additional cost implications, employers should appreciate the law which provides for women’s rights to health and decent work.
“Dapat i-appreciate ‘yan ng mga employer, alam mo kung bakit? This expanded maternity leave is intended to improve and ensure the health of our lady worker,” he said.
Meanwhile, Malacañang lauded the recent signing of the IRR, which will pave the way for the full implementation of the law.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that aside from added maternity leave benefits for female workers, the law also means more quality time to spend with the family.
“Imagine 105 days, that means you will have more time with your family, quality time. And that means also your health will be protected, because you will not be forced to work immediately after giving birth,” he said.
“And also the husbands, ‘di ba mayroon pa silang extended, parang 15, magiging 15 days na, so makakabuti sa pamilya iyon,” he added.
Employers who will fail or refuse to comply with the law will be fined of not less than P20,000 nor more than P200,000; imprisonment of less than six years and one day nor more than 12 years or both.
Failure to implement the new law shall also be a ground for non-renewal of business permits. (with reports from Rosalie Coz and Leslie Huidem)
Malacañang admitted the government had shortcomings in not building more coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing laboratories to boost the country’s response against the pandemic.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the country only began having more testing laboratories last March, adding that the country should have already boosted its testing capacity when the first COVID-19 case was reported.
“Inaamin po natin na medyo naging mabagal ang proseso sa lumipas po na dalawang buwan (We admit the process has been slow in the past two months),” he said.
“If I were to look back, what could have we done better? Siguro po noong nagkaroon tayo ng unang kaso imported case ng COVID, dapat pinalawak na natin ang testing capacity natin agad (When we had the first imported case of COVID-19, we could have already boosted our testing capacity),“ Roque added.
The country only had one COVID-19 laboratory in January. As of July 7, licensed RT-PCR laboratories across the country have reached 78. The Palace official said the government is improving its COVID-19 testing, treatment, and contact tracing to better the response against the virus.
The Duterte Administration also called on the public, local government, and business establishments to be more responsible in following minimum health standards including social distancing, wearing face masks, and hand washing.
Roque also announced the government will further boost its targeted testing.
“Bukod po sa 10 million na naorder natin at 1 million na na-deliver na PCR testing, magkakaroon ng mas malawak na targeted testing na iaanunsyo po natin sa mga darating na panahon (Aside from the 10 million we ordered and the 1 million PCR testing that has been delivered, there will be wider targeted testing which we will announce soon),“ he said. –AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)
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)
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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