Issue of December 31, 2017
Mt. Province

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Significant labor and employment issuances for 2017

A stop to “end of contract,” protection in hazardous work environment, anti-age discrimination, and the new minimum wage for workers and kasambahay in the Cordillera are some of the issuances handed out by the Department of Labor and Employment this year.

Issued on Jan. 16 is Department Order 149 A-17 or the “Guidelines in assessing and determining hazardous work in the employment of persons below 18 years of age” has broadened the scope of the ban on the employment of minors in agriculture and livestock farming. It now classifies farm rearing and related farming activities as hazardous and among the worst forms of child labor. Such activities include plant propagation, clearing of land, plowing, irrigating, constructing paddy dike and cutting, handling, spraying and application of harmful fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and other toxic chemicals; and loading and carrying of heavy loads. It also covers rearing activities that involve collecting, loading, unloading, and transporting of feeds, maintenance, and care of large and/or dangerous animals, collecting and disposal of dead animals, animal manure and other waste materials, administering of vaccines and vitamins, and handling of disinfectants used for cleaning animal pens/enclosures or for disinfecting animals.

Another issuance is DO 170-17 or the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act 10911 or the “Anti-Age Discrimination in Employment Act” issued last Feb. 2. This law prohibits employers from hiring workers based on age.

Under this law, employers cannot print or publish any advertisement or notice, in any form of media, that suggests preferences, limitations, specifications, and discrimination based on age. Employers are also barred from requiring applicants to disclose their age or date of birth, to reject applicants on the basis of age, or to discriminate in terms of compensation or privileges of employment based on the individual’s age. It is also unlawful for employers to deny a worker’s promotion because of age, or to impose early retirement or forcibly lay off an employee because of old age. Violators will be meted a fine of not less than P50,000 but not more than P500,000 or imprisonment of not less than three months but not more than two years, or both. The law, however, also sets situations where employers are allowed to set age limitations.

Ending contractualization or “endo” is a labor practice where companies hire workers for six months or less without providing them with benefits. It is also called “555” work arrangement, wherein a worker is retrenched before being given a regular employment status. Such practice is illegal. It denies the existence of an employer-employee relationship and/or avoids the regularization of workers.

Department Order 174-17, issued on March 16, is the rules implementing Articles 106 to 109 of the Labor Code, which provides stricter guidelines for contractors. Among the notable changes is the increase in the requirement of substantial capital of contractors from P3 million 000 under DO 18-A to P5M in paid-up capital stock or shares for corporations, partnerships, and cooperatives or in the net worth for single proprietorship. Registration fees for contractors are likewise increased from P25,000 to P100,000. Once issued, the certificate of registration is valid only for two years, instead of three years.

Department Order 186-17, issued on Nov.16, is the revised rules for the Issuance of Employment Permits to Foreign Nationals. It states that all foreign nationals who intend to engage in gainful employment in the Philippines shall apply for Alien Employment Permit (AEP), which is one of the requirements for the issuance of a work visa. The AEP is not an exclusive authority for a foreign national to work in the Philippines. It is just one of the requirements in the issuance of a work visa to legally engage in gainful employment in the country. Foreign nationals who are excluded from securing an AEP shall obtain a certificate of exclusion from the DOLE regional office having jurisdiction over their intended place of work.

Other important issuances by the Labor Department include various labor advisories on the payment of wages and other benefits for 12 regular holidays and eight special (non-working) days, Department Order 183-17 or the Revised Rules on the Administration and Enforcement of Labor Laws Pursuant to Article 128 of the Labor Code, as renumbered. This DO is a new system adopting the old regulatory inspectorate approach. Salient features of the order are the two of the modes of implementation called routine inspection and complaint inspection.

Other orders issued are Department Circular 02-17 or the Guidelines on the Issuance of Work Permit for Children Below 15 years of Age Engaged in Public Entertainment or Information; DO 184-17 or Safety and Health Measures for Workers Who, by the Nature of their Work, Have to Spend Long Hours Sitting; DO 182-17 or the Guidelines Governing the Employment and Working Conditions of Health Personnel in the Private Healthcare Industry; Joint DO 1-17 by DOLE and the Department of Trade and Industry or the Guidelines for the Issuance, Suspension, or Revocation of Certificates of Accreditation for Garments Manufacturers, Exporters, and Subcontractors Availing of Preferential Tariffs under the Generalized System; and DO 178-17 or Safety and Health Measures for Workers Who, by the Nature of their Work, have to Stand at Work.

Also important issuances are Labor Advisory 09-17 or Guidance to Host Establishments in Ensuring Safe Workplaces for Senior High School Students under Work Immersion Program; DO 177-17, Expanding DOLE Adjustment Measures Program For Displaced Higher Education Institution Personnel due to the Implementation of RA 10533; DO 175-17 or the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 10917, Amending for the Purpose RAs 9547 and 7323, or the Special Program for the Employment of Students; and DO 173-17 or the Revised Guidelines in the Implementation of the Department of Labor and Employment Integrated Livelihood and Emergency Employment Programs.

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