TO boost the chances of passing the security of tenure (SOT) bill, employers are now proposing for its provisions to be separated in two different legislations.
Philippine Society of Management Services Inc. representative Danilo L. Patron made the proposal at the hearing of the Labor and Employment Committee of the House of Representatives on the SOT bill of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
Patron said the SOT bill should focus on regulating “fixed-term” employment, which is approved by both workers and management.
He said a separate job contracting bill should be crafted to determine what positions could be contracted out by employers, and what should still be restricted for regular workers.
“Because if we are going to incorporate that and enjoin the issues with job contracting rules and laws, then it is going to be an endless and protracted argument; we won’t be able to arrive [at] a new law,” Patron told BusinessMirror in an ambush interview.
Patron, together with representatives of the American Chamber of Commerce, and the Philippine Association of Legitimate Service Contractors Inc., backed the regulation of fixed-term employment since it will significantly fast-track the resolution of labor disputes on the said issue.
Currently, Patron said, resolving such cases takes a long time since it relies on jurisprudence and practice rather than on an actual law.
Under the proposed SOT draft bill of DOLE, fixed-term employment will generally not be allowed except for certain conditions. Per the draft, the scheme should be agreed upon by both management and workers.
“The moment it is incorporated in the law, then the Department of Labor and Employment will be in a better position to regulate the practice,” Patron said.
Patron, however, said they opposed the provision of the DOLE draft, which, he said, limits management prerogative in contracting out jobs.
He noted this was also the same reason cited by President Duterte when he vetoed the SOT bill of the 17th Congress.
DOLE proposed the “performance or completion of a specific job, work, or service may be contracted out except for core business activities or function unless in cases of seasonal or project-work arrangement.”
Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) Vice President Louie Corral rejected Patron’s twin-bill proposal, stressing both provisions of the SOT bill should be passed together for the proposed law to be effective.
“Management prerogative should be regulated the same way the right to security of tenure is subject to regulation,” Corral said.
“What they want is unfettered management prerogative and that is not acceptable in any decent society,” he added.
The labor leader also belied Patron’s claim that the current SOT bill is disadvantageous for employers.
Corral stressed the determination of the jobs that can be contracted out will be through the National Tripartite Industrial Peace Council, where both management and labor are represented.
“This will provide a soft landing already to employers. The rollout [of the contractualization] protocol will be gradual through the tripartite discussion. This will not be forced,” Corral said.