DOLE vows to release IRR of service charge law soon

Robie de Guzman   •   August 20, 2019   •   966

Hotel attendant

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is eyeing to release the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Republic Act 11360 or the Service Charge Law soon.

In a statement, Labor Secretary Silvestro Bello III assured they will fast track the crafting of the IRR to release it within the 90-day period.

“We have 90 days to craft the IRR but we don’t intend to maximize it, instead we hope to come up with it as soon as possible so our workers in hotels and restaurants can finally receive reasonable incentives from their hard work and quality services,” Bello said.

The law, signed by President Rodrigo Duterte last August 7, requires restaurants, hotels, and similar establishments to distribute service charges in full among their rank and file and supervisory employees.

The law amended Article 96 of the Labor Code, which only provides workers with 85 percent of the service charge collection while the remaining 15 percent are for the management.

“The law will keep our workers in the hotel and restaurants motivated in providing quality services, as well as a chance to give them a simple reward for their hard work,” Bello said.

Under the new law, all service charges shall be distributed completely and equally among the covered workers, except managerial employees.

It also mandates the establishment of a grievance mechanism to resolve any dispute between employees and the management on the distribution of the service charge.

DOLE said workers can fully receive their equal distribution from the full collected service charges 15 days after the publication of its IRR in a newspaper of general circulation. 

Construction of first hospital for OFWs set to begin – DOLE

Robie de Guzman   •   February 21, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The construction of the first hospital for overseas Filipino workers (OFW) is set to begin following the signing of a memorandum of agreement for the project between the government and private donors, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said Friday.

In a statement, DOLE said the deal which signals the commencement of the project construction was signed in a ceremony held last week in San Fernando, Pampanga.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III led the signing of the agreement with representatives from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), the Department of Health, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor), other officials from the local government and the Bloomberry Cultural Foundation.

Under the agreement, Pagcor will donate P200 million for the acquisition and installation of equipment and facilities for the hospital, while Bloomberry Cultural Foundation will shoulder the cost of construction amounting to P400 million.

The local government of Pampanga has donated a two-hectare property in Barangay Sindalan for the project.

In his remarks during the signing ceremony, Bello lauded the signatories’ commitment to building the first and only hospital in the Philippines that will provide free medical services to the country’s modern-day heroes.

“This hospital is going to be built to recognize the heroism of our OFWs who continue to power economic growth in the country,” Bello said.

“It’s a fitting tribute to Filipino workers who, through their valuable remittances, have kept the economy afloat during many challenging times,” he added.

DOLE said the hospital is expected to be completed in May 2021.

Once completed, the hospital will render free services when OFWs are securing medical certificates covering laboratory exams and other requirements for their overseas deployment. 

DOLE mandates mental health policies in workplaces

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 21, 2020

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has mandated the implementation of mental health policies and programs in workplaces.

In a statement, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III provided the guidelines through Department Order No. 208, signed on February 11, for the effective implementation of mental health policies and programs.

“The directive hopes to raise further awareness, prevent stigma and discrimination among Filipino workers in as far as mental health conditions are concerned and provide support to workers with mental health issues for them to gain access to medical health services,” he said.

The directive covers employers in the formal sector, including those that deploy overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

“Components of a mental health program shall include advocacy, information, education, training as well as promotion and enhancement of workers’ well-being; non-discriminatory policies and practices; confidentiality of information; disclosure of medical or mental condition; work accommodation and work arrangement; treatment, rehabilitation, and referral system; benefits and compensation, among others” according to the Labor Department.

The organization’s mental health program will be prepared by the management and employee’s representatives as an integral part of the company’s occupational safety and health (OSH) policies and programs.—AAC

DOLE assures job security for Filipino crew in cruise ship

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 18, 2020

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has assured job security for the Filipino crew in the quarantined cruise ship Diamond Princess.

DOLE Usec. Ana Dione. said the labor attache of the Philippines in Japan is already coordinating with the Japanese company that owns the Diamond Princess for the job security of the repatriated Filipino crew.

“Tutulong and DOLE diyan through our POLO [Philippine Overseas Labor Office] offices na i-secure iyong kanilang trabaho, now kung mag-desisyon sila kung babalik o hindi nasa kanila na iyon (DOLE will help through our POLO offices in securing their jobs. Now, it is their decision if they wish to return or not),” she said.

After the 14-day quarantine on Wednesday (February 19), the DOLE said they are prepared to repatriate the over 500 Filipino crew and passengers.

“Exact date ay hindi natin iyan kayang sabihin sa ngayon, (we cannot say the exact date as of now) but we are hoping that within this month,” according to Dione.

The repatriated Filipinos will also undergo the 14-day quarantine period, based on the protocol of the Department of Health (DOH).—AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)

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