Security guards won't be left behind in House Bill (HB) No. 5493. In fact, they're front and center as its beneficiaries.
Davao City 1st district Rep. Paolo Duterte and Benguet lone district Rep. Eric Go Yap penned and filed the measure, which is also known as the proposed Magna Carta for Security Guards and other Private Security Personnel.
“While they put their lives on the line for the protection of establishments and of the general public, these security personnel are deprived of the same protection from their employers in terms of salary and benefits,” said Duterte and Yap in the explanatory note of the bill.
The measure aims to improve the welfare of security guards and other members of the private security industry by institutionalizing rules set by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on their employment, working conditions, and benefits.
The authors noted that security guards and other private security workers often suffer from long work hours, inadequate pay, and at times, even abuse from their principals and security service contractors (SSCs).
Duterte recalled that in November last year, 12 security guards in Davao Oriental were found to have been deprived by their employer of their rightful pay and benefits, and were thus, awarded P1 million by the DOLE in money claims.
He said the case has highlighted the distressing plight of many security guards who are often underpaid and their labor rights violated by their agencies or SSCs.
“This is unacceptable considering that security guards and other private security personnel are exposed to risks that could endanger their lives. They are even considered as ‘force multipliers’ in places with limited police presence. They deserve to be treated better,” said Duterte, a former deputy speaker.
The proposed Magna Carta contains provisions similar to rules earlier issued by the DOLE on the employment of private security workers, such as considering security guards and other private security personnel as employees by their SSCs or agencies and, thus, are entitled to benefits.
Under the bill, they will gain regular employment status after completing a probationary period not exceeding six months.
Security guards and other private security personnel affected by the repeated hiring-firing-rehiring pattern done by SSCs shall also be considered under the Magna Carta as regular employees if the aggregate duration of this scheme sums up to at least six months.
The Magna Carta enumerates the rights and privileges of security guards and other private security personnel, which include 1) safe and healthful working conditions that ensure appropriate rest for them and protection from abusive treatment; 2) labor standards, such as but not limited to, service incentive leave, premium pay, overtime pay, holiday pay, night shift differential, 13th month pay, and separation pay; 3) retirement benefits; 4) social security and welfare benefits; 5) right to self-organization and collective bargaining; and 6) security of tenure.
Discrimination against any private security worker by reason of gender, civil status, creed, religious or political beliefs and ethnic groupings is also prohibited under the measure.
The Magna Carta also ensures that private security personnel are paid at least the minimum wage prescribed for non-agricultural workers in the region where one is assigned.
A transfer of assignment should not result to a reduction of the wage rate received by the private security worker. The Magna Carta says that the wage rate most favorable to the worker shall apply.