Philippines president fast tracks security of tenure bill
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has signed as urgent a bill that would provide security of tenure to the country’s millions of workers.
Filippino law requires employers to ‘regularise’ contract workers after six months – namely, to provide them with the benefits of full employment, such as 13th month bonuses.
However, the country has been plagued by a practice dubbed ‘endo’, where employers hire contract employees for full-time, permanent positions – and frequently terminate these contract employees just before they log six months, and instead hire a new person on a new contract. This new person is then also terminated just before the company must ‘regualarise’ them, and the cycle of worker exploitation continues.
Such workers are frequently hired through “labour-only” employment agencies.
Duterte’s pledge to end the practice of ‘endo’ was a key point of his election campaign prior to him stepping into the presidency in mid-2016.
In a statement, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said he received a letter from Duterte urging the immediate enactment of Senate Bill No 1826 or the Security of Tenure Bill and End of Endo Act of 2018.
“I hereby certify to the necessity of the immediate enactment of Senate Bill No. 1826… in order to strengthen workers’ security of tenure by prohibiting the prevalent practices of contractualisation and labour-only contracting which continue to immerse our workers in a quagmire of poverty and underemployment,” said the letter.
Under the bill, there is labour-only contracting if the job contractor – whether licensed or not – merely recruits, supplies or places workers to a contracting company.
If the bill is enacted, companies will have to hire employees directly and can no longer source workers from employment agencies.
Duterte said he certified this as urgent “in order to strengthen workers’ security of tenure by prohibiting the prevalent practices of contractualisation and labour-only contracting which continue to immerse our workers in a quagmire of poverty and underemployment.”
It is still unclear if or when the bill will become law.