PH Enacts “Eddie Garcia Law” for Protection of Workers in TV and Film Industry

The Philippines now has the “Eddie Garcia Law”! President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. signed the Republic Act 11996 or “Eddie Garcia Law” on May 24, but released it on May 28.

Named after the veteran actor Eddie Garcia, who passed away in June 2019 after getting into an accident while shooting for a television series, the law aims to protect and ensure the welfare of workers in the movie and television industry.

Eddie Garcia

What Is “Eddie Garcia Law”?

It mandates the worker and the employer to have a signed agreement or employment contract in a language understood by both parties before the commencement of service.

The “Eddie Garcia Law” requires the implementation of work hours, wages and other wage-related benefits, social security and welfare benefits, basic necessities, health and safety, working conditions and standards, and insurance.

“No agreement or employment contract shall discriminate against a worker who has contracts or projects with other production outfits unless exclusivity is specified in the contract, nor shall any person perform any act involving preference based on race, color, descent, national or ethnic origin, or religion, which has the purpose or effect of nullifying the recognition, enjoyment, or exercise on an equal footing of any human right or fundamental freedom,” it stated.

The hours of work shall be based on the terms and conditions set in the agreement, which includes the following:

  • Waiting time where the worker is required to stay within the premises of the workplace;
  • The time during which the worker is required to work, including time spent on ocular work, pre-production, and post-production activities;
  • Travel to and from out-of-town projects. Provided that the worker cannot gainfully utilize the travel time for one’s own personal purpose, need, or benefit.

The measures mandate employers to provide workers with a rest period of not less than 10 hours between workdays. If their work hours exceed eight hours, the workers are entitled to overtime pay unless “it is already incorporated in the agreement or employment contract which stipulates a higher compensation.”

On the other hand, employers need to pay workers if a shoot is canceled less than eight hours before schedule, except in cases of force majeure. It also covers transport service or reimbursement for transportation fees for workers unless the contract already stipulates a higher compensation.

As for wages, workers must be paid at least the applicable minimum wage in the region where they are hiredWages shall be paid on time, as agreed upon in the contract, directly to the worker.

The “Eddie Garcia Law” ensures all workers shall be covered by and entitled to benefits provided by the Social Security System (SSS), the Home Development Mutual Fund or Pag-IBIG Fund, and the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth).

Under the law, employers shall strictly adhere to the provisions of Republic Act No. 7610 as amended by Republic Act No. 9231 in the employment of minors. They must also comply with the occupational safety and health standards provided in Republic Act No. 11058 and Section 25 of Republic Act No. 11036 to ensure the health and safety of workers.

Repercussions of Violating the Eddie Garcia Law

Those who violate any section of the law shall be fined up to P100,000 for the first offense, up to P200,000 for the second offense, and up to P500,000 for the third and succeeding offenses.

“If the violation is committed by a corporation, trust or firm, partnership, association or any other entity, the fines shall be imposed upon the entity’s responsible officers, including, but not limited to, the executive producer, producer, production manager, and business unit manager,” the new law noted.

Eddie Garcia’s Death

Lawmakers lauded the signing of the law and recalled Garcia’s legacy. The multi-awarded actor died at the age of 90 due to a neck cervical fracture caused by tripping on a cable while filming for his comeback television series with GMA. He was comatose for 12 days, then passed away on June 20, 2019.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) claimed that the network allegedly violated work safety standards on the day of Garcia’s accident on location during the filming. The violations stated were: failure to submit an incident report within 24 hours, to employ or designate a safety officer, and to employ or designate a certified First Aider.

ALSO READ: Mikee Romero to File the “Eddie Garcia Law” for Actors

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