The House Committee on Labor has taken a two-pronged approach in pursuing the enactment of measures that would put an end to the much-criticized “endo” or “end of contract” practice of employers.
Probinsyano Ako Partylist Rep. Jose “Bonito” C. Singson Jr. lauded the decision of the labor panel to revive committee deliberation on House Bill 4802 which proposes to extend the probationary employment of non-regular workers from six months to 24 months.
Chaired by 1Pacman Partylist Rep. Eric Pineda, the labor panel has decided to refer House Bill 4802, Singson’s proposal, to a technical working group (TWG) for further discussions.
Pineda has also called on the Senate to take swift action on its version of a new Security of Tenure Act (STA).
HB 7036, the Lower House version, is awaiting Senate’s passage of its counterpart measure. Congressmen passed HB 7036 as early as December 3, 2020 or 18 months after President Duterte vetoed the bill approved by the 17th Congress.
The twin actions taken by the labor panel followed an announcement by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III that he was preparing a letter asking President Duterte to certify the STA an urgent administration bill.
Singson, chairman of the House Committee on Public Accounts, lauded Pineda for referring HB 4802 to a TWG that will thoroughly study the proposal and make recommendations to the committee.
Singson said HB 4802 seeks to address the much-criticized “end of contract” practice of employers that is also the main objective of the STA.
“Endo” is resorted to by employers in order to avoid compliance to the legally mandated regularization of workers who have rendered six months of continuous employment.
Singson is batting for an extension of the six-month probationary period to 24 consecutive months of employment, offering it as a “win-win’ compromise to both workers and management.
During the virtual committee hearing on Wednesday, Labor Undersecretary Anna Dione said it would be best for the Lower House to “take a look at this bill further” to determine whether or not a longer probationary period can address the “endo issues.” Singson stressed that enactment of HB 4802 is vital to both workers and management who both are confronted with the economic adversities triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This bill works to the advantage of labor and capital who continue to suffer under the COVID-19 crisis. It guarantees workers continuous employment for 24 months and at the same time allows management just enough leeway to recover losses caused by the pandemic,” he explained.
“Sa panahon ng pandemic higit na makikinabang ang mga manggagawa kung tuloy-tuloy ang kanilang trabaho sa halip na mabakante sila matapos ang ikalimang buwan pa lamang ng kanilang pamamasukan,” Singson pointed out. (In this time of pandemic workers will benefit more if in continuous employment instead of being jobless after mere five months on the job) The partylist lawmaker said the House labor panel’s decision to refer the bill to a TWG is a welcome development because this will give all stakeholders more time to deliberate and reach a compromise, if needed.