DOLE to closely monitor firms violating Labor Code, Expanded Maternity Leave Act

Robie de Guzman   •   May 3, 2019   •   4030

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.

READ: IRR for Expanded Maternity Leave Law signed on Labor Day

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)

POEA, OWWA to be placed as part of Department of OFW

Maris Federez   •   September 18, 2019

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is pushing for the inclusion of several of its attached agencies in the creation of the Department of OFW.

Based on the proposal submitted by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III to the Lower House, he recommended to place the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), and the National Reintegration Center for OFWs (NRCO) as part of the Department of OFW.

Aside from the aforementioned agencies, Bello also proposed to include in the soon to be created department all other entities that cater to the needs and welfare of Filipino workers abroad.

“May mga existing bureau services like yung International Labor Affairs Bureau ng DOLE, yung OWWA ng DFA, yung CFO ng Office of the President, ipapaabsorb diyan sa department na yan,” Bello said. (from the report of Vincent Arboleda) /mbmf

PHL ready to repatriate Filipinos in Saudi Arabia following oil sites attack

Robie de Guzman   •   September 17, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government is ready to repatriate thousands of Filipinos from Saudi Arabia who were affected by the attacks on oil sites last weekend, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said Tuesday.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said this is if the condition in the world’s top oil-exporting country worsens in the coming days.

Bello added that as of now, they are still monitoring developments and assessing the possible implications of the attacks on the safety and security of Filipino workers in the area.

There are about 50,000 Filipino workers in areas affected by the blasts but Bello assured no Filipino was injured in the attacks.

“So far, no reports of OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) injured or negatively affected by the attack and no work disruption was reported. Our Philippine Overseas Labor Offices in Al Khobar, Riyadh, and Dammam are also on top of the situation to check on the conditions of our OFWs,” he said in a statement.

On the early hours of Saturday (Sept. 14), a series of major drone attacks were launched on Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil processing facility.

The attacks on the processor and a major oil field sparked a huge fire, according to the kingdom’s interior ministry.

Houthi Rebels have claimed responsibility for the attack.

DOLE said they are closely coordinating with the Department of Foreign Affairs on the possible evacuation of Filipinos from the blast sites.

“We are coordinating with the DFA on the development of the situation for constant assessment. But we are ready for any eventual repatriation to ensure the safety and security of OFWs, or help them secure employment in the other areas,” Bello said.

Saudi Arabia is among the top destination countries for OFWs composing 24.3 percent of the total 2.3 million OFWs across the globe, based on the 2018 Survey of the Philippine Statistics Authority.

Palace: Lorenzana to probe AFP-third telco deal

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 16, 2019

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana

Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana will investigate the deal between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and third telco firm, Dito Telecommunity Corp.

This was after the third telco was allowed to build their facilities near the military bases of the country.

According to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, Lorenzana was not aware of the said deal.

“The DND Secretary texted me about it, and said he doesn’t know anything about it,” he said.

Panelo also said Lorenzana will investigate the matter and that the government can terminate the said deal if there is a proven security threat in the country.

“He’s going to investigate and ask the concern people involved in the deal so we’ll wait for his findings,” he said.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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