Strained relationships between employers and workers have hitherto been a hard nut to crack among many governments in the world. For a long time, the Philippines workers have suffered abuse under illegal contractualization. However, the Security of Tenure bill (SOT) seeks to put an end to all this.
Barely seven months after the Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte vetoed the initial draft, there was a fresh start early March 2020 when the House Committee on Labor and Employment approved it.
Ending illegal contractualization was among Duterte's promises during his campaign. Despite having disapproved the earlier version in July 2019, he assured the Filipinos that he remains committed to protecting workers.
What is Security of Tenure bill?
Security of Tenure is a term used to describe a legal or constitutional guarantee of protection. A given office holder cannot be removed from office except in specified and exceptional circumstances.
Since enacting into law the Labor Code in 1974, which allowed contracting and subcontracting, the regulation ultimately failed to protect the rights of workers. As a result, several workers suffered abuse and exploitation.
Contractualization created a group of workers without social security, access to Pag-IBIG, no healthcare, and no security of tenure. This practice has become widespread and covers thousands of workers.
The bill aims at abolishing contractualization and all it forms and initiating fixed-term employment. According to the draft, all workers will be directly hired and work with the company and will as well be treated as regular employees.
Security of Tenure bill senate
In a statement released to the press on May 22nd, 2019, the Senate approved the law draft on the third and final reading. In so doing, the house sought to stamp out abuses and exploitation in the practice of illegal contractualization.
The principal author and sponsor of Senate Bill No. 1826, popularly known as the End Endo bill, Villanueva had the following to say about the draft in the Senate.
We longed for this day to come, especially our workers who have suffered because of the evils of endo, a practice which corrupts the dignity of labor.
The bill seeks to give all workers peace of mind when it comes to their employment status, that no worker can be dismissed without a just or an authorized cause, and due process.
Security of Tenure bill veto
President Rodrigo Duterte vetoed the SOT bill after his 2018 State of the Nation Address. According to his spokesman Salvador Panelo, the president in July vetoed the original version of the draft because of a potential decline in available jobs. He further said that the president was seeking to strike a delicate balance between employers and workers.
Our goal, however, has always been to target the abuse while leaving businesses free to engage in those practices beneficial to both management and the workforce.
Who is the Security of Tenure bill author?
In January 2020, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) made a new draft against illegal contractualization and 'endo' after the earlier version was vetoed. The DOLE then submitted the draft to Salvador Medialdea, who is the executive secretary. The draft was then forwarded to Congress when the house resumed.
Security of Tenure bill Philippines
What is the Security of Tenure bill meaning? According to the gazetted employees' rights, every employee shall be assured security of tenure. This means that he or she cannot be dismissed from work except for an authorized and a just cause, and only after due process.
Among the reason that would amount to dismissal include wrongdoing committed by an employee and authorized cause such as economic circumstances that are not the employee’s fault.
The Security of Tenure bill remains one of the most crucial drafts in the Philippines as it takes into consideration the basic issues affecting the relationship between employers and workers. All eyes are on the president, the House of Representatives, and the Senate on whether it will become law or not.