The Senate unanimously voted 15-0 in favor of Senate Bill 1826 last Wednesday. This bill, also known as “Security of Tenure and End of Endo Act of 2018”, aims to restrict labor-only contractualization as well as strengthen workers’ rights. This was its 3rd and final reading, meaning that the next step is to convene a bicameral conference to finalize the bill for the President’s approval.
Photo from Leo M. Sabangan II / Inquirer
What the bill essentially intends to do is end ‘endo’. Endo refers to ‘end of contract’, which is a harmful form of contractualization largely utilized here in the Philippines. It is practiced by employing workers under a contract of just 5 months in order to keep them from working the 6 months needed to be regularized. This is done so employers would not need to grant ‘regular’ employees benefits and greater rights.
When the bill is passed into law, it would restrict the hiring of employees through a third party. This is known as labor-only contracting, where a job contractor “merely recruits and supplies or places workers to a contractee.” Employees would then have to be directly hired by companies with the possibility of being regularized after the standard 6 months.
While similar provisions limiting ‘endo’ have been in law for some time, this bill reinforces said provisions since they have not been followed as closely. It also adds to existing provisions by clarifying areas which have remained uncertain and better-allowed employers to circumvent the law.
The specific stipulations are as follows:
- The job contractor merely supplies, recruits, and places workers to a contractee.
- The workers supplied to a contractee perform tasks/activities that are listed by the industry to be directly related to the core business of the contractee.
- The contractee has direct control and supervision of the workers supplied by the contractor.
The bill also classifies workers into 4 types: regular, probationary, project and seasonal. This is important because it outlines that project and seasonal workers still ought to receive the same rights afforded to regular workers. This would include granting minimum wage and social protection benefits.
Job contracting would not be removed unilaterally, but those practicing it would need a license from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). Contracting would only be allowed when it is to fulfill a function not inherent to the company. These instances will be decided on by a tripartite committee made up of government, employee representatives, and industry bodies. Senator Joel Villanueva explains it further:
The industry tripartite council may set a positive or negative list of functions or task that are or are not directly related to the principal business. Having an industry-determined listing will help minimize disputes among employers and affected workers.
As Congress has limited session days until adjourning on June 8 there is pressure to reach a final version so it may pass through Malacanang soon. Villanueva, who authored the bill, considers this a clear win: “We longed for this day to come, especially our workers who have suffered because of the evils of endo, a practice which corrupts the dignity of labor.”
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