March 21, 2023

As Cordillera transitions into the new normal, the Department of Labor and Employment, the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board and the Department of Trade and Industry will unveil a social partnership accord to recognize the importance of a coordinated and inclusive approach among public and private stakeholders to succeed in the Covid-19 response, recovery and resilience effort as the region recharges its economy headed to the new and better normal.
To continue employment, DOLE-CAR Director and RTWPB Chair Exequiel Ronie Guzman has encouraged businesses and enterprises to try a work-from-home and telecommuting setup for employees in businesses and industries allowed to resume operations under the modified enhanced community quarantine or general community quarantine as stated in Labor Advisory 17, s. 2020.
The DOLE also presented alternative work schemes that private companies may resort to in order to forestall further business reverses, while protecting jobs, preventing closures and termination of workers at the same time. These alternative work arrangements include transfer of employee to another branch; assignment of employee to another function or position in the same or another branch or outlet; reduction of normal workdays or work hours; job rotations; partial closure of an establishment while some department or unit is continued; and other schemes that are necessary or peculiar for the survival of a specific business or establishment.
Employers are also advised to employ various wage and benefit schemes necessary for the continuance of business and employment in coordination with their workers and in conjunction with agreed company policies and their respective collective bargaining agreements (CBAs); provided that said adjustments in wage and benefits should not exceed six months or the period mandated in their CBAs.
In instances when termination of employment becomes unavoidable, the emoluments for workers removed for cause should follow the provisions of existing laws. Employers are also required to submit reports to the DOLE field offices on the adaption of any, or all, of the provisions of the advisory.
The launching of a social partnership accord will build a partnership between DOLE-RTWPB-DTI with enterprises, business owners, industry associations, cooperatives, corporations and employers’ organizations and formal sector workers, employee groups, and individuals.
The social partnership accord roadmap for DOLE and its government agencies’ is collaboration in the field of awareness and information campaign and dissemination of existing guidelines on workplace safety and health for micro, small, and medium enterprises and their employees.
Trainings, orientation and technical assistance will be provided for MSMEs in the region on labor advisories amid work disruptions, access to finance, productivity improvement programs, business continuity and resilience planning and adoption of productivity-based incentive schemes to ease business downturns caused by the pandemic and work disruptions.
Enterprises, business owners, industry associations, cooperatives, corporations and employers’ organizations, should ensure compliance with the guidelines on workplace prevention and control to reduce transmission of the Covid-19 at no cost to workers, specifically on physical and mental health, appropriate health and safety protocols, testing of at-risk workers manifesting Covid-19 symptoms, contact tracing, lockdown procedures and other improvement programs.
For formal sector workers, employee groups and individuals, on the other hand, should strictly follow work safety and health instructions by the employer in compliance with government guidelines, cooperate with management in the implementation of occupational health and safety and business productivity improvement initiatives and programs and coordinate with management and government better working conditions in the workplace and also to participate in trainings, consultations, social dialogue through face-to-face interaction and online virtual platforms to enhance capacity building policy formulation and implementation of Covid-19 response in the workplace.
This agreement will ensure involvement of all parties in realizing a healthy and safe workplace, continuous enterprise productivity and employment preservation amidst the pandemic and work disruption, decent and productive work through business expansion and growth.