The House Committee on Labor and Employment will discuss on Wednesday, July 21, a legislative proposal seeking to extend the maximum period of probationary employment from six months to 24 months amid appeals from employers for more government support amid the devastating economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Probinsyano Ako Partylist Representative Jose “Bonito” Singson Jr. noted that the committee hearing was scheduled in the wake of reports that the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has taken steps for the immediate passage of the proposed Security of Tenure Act, or the “Anti-Endo bill’’.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III had said he would appeal to President Duterte to certify as urgent the passage of the pending Anti-Endo bills.
Singson, chairman of the House Committee on Public Accounts, said a swift committee action on House Bill No. 4802 would answer DOLE’s concerns for passage of the Anti-Endo bill because provisions of measure supposedly addresses President Duterte’s reservations on the vetoed version of the Security of Tenure Bill in 2019.
“The veto came before COVID-19 heavily damaged the economy and triggered bankruptcy among many businesses. HB 4802 will give employers enough breathing space to recover and hire more workers who are currently jobless right now,” Singson explained.
In his veto message, Duterte called for the assurance of a good balance between interests of both capital and labor while at the same time guarantee protection for workers from adverse consequences security of tenure law in the long term.
Singson said his HB 4802 proposes to extend the maximum prescribed period of probationary employment of workers from six months to 24 months.
He said this would address the practice of many employers of terminating the services of probationary employees to avoid granting them mandatory regular status at the end of the six months of continuous employment.
The partylist lawmaker explained that extending the probationary stage of employment to 24 months would work to the advantage of both the workers and the employers.
“The probationary employees will enjoy over six months of continuous employment to keep them afloat as the COVID-19 pandemic threatens them and their family,” Singson said.
“It is noteworthy to state that by increasing the time element of the probationary period, we are in effect creating better job security for the average probationary employee, who most often than not fall victim to company practices that takes advantages of loopholes in the law,” he pointed out.