House panel approves unemployment fund for workers

Published October 20, 2021, 7:53 PM

by Manila Bulletin

The House of Representatives Committee on Labor and Employment approved a bill providing an unemployment assurance benefit fund for employees on Wednesday, Oct. 20.

Chaired by 1Pacman Partylist Rep. Enrico Pineda the committee deliberated on House Bill No. 5701 which is entitled “An Act Mandating Private Business Enterprises to Contribute and Set Aside an Amount for the Benefit of its Employees and Contractee’s Employees or the Unemployment Labor Assurance Mutual Fund”.

The bill seeks to mandate employers to provide an unemployment assurance benefit fund for employees which would help balance the interest of both labor and capital by discouraging contractualization and also promoting regularization.

The said measure, which was filed by Manila Teachers Partylist Rep. Virgilio Lacson, was unanimously approved by the panel members.

Lacson in his explanatory note cited Article II, Section 18 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution which declares that “the State affirms labor as a primary social economic force. It shall protect the rights of workers and promote their welfare.” It also calls on the government to help its citizens seek employment as well as help them seek re-employment in case of separation.

Covered under the bill are private business enterprises employing and/or contracting the services of at least 500 employees, whether regular or non-regular, including anyone employed or contracted for less than six months, except those employed for a specific result which may be achieved within less than six months.

It also covers business enterprises or group of employers with similar franchises, holding companies, subsidiaries, affiliates, or conglomerates.

The measure also mandates the employer, at no cost to the employee, to remit to the unemployment mutual fund an amount equivalent to 20% of the employee’s monthly salary.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), represented by DOLE Undersecretary Benjo Santos Benavidez in the said hearing, gave its nod for the passage of the House bill. (Melvin Sarangay)