MANILA – Exasperated by the long process that workers had to go through before their complaints against abusive employers are acted upon, Senator Raffy Tulfo on Thursday proposed a one-strike policy against abusive employers who are not complying with the country’s minimum wage law, and are not giving benefits due to their workers.
Under his proposal shared in a news release, the Rules of Procedures of the Department of Labor and Employment will be revised in such a way that abusive employers will be immediately penalized and obliged to pay the abused workers who managed to present overwhelming evidence against them.
Tulfo, who is vice chairperson of the Senate Committee on Labor, pointed out that the country’s current labor law appears to be toothless because non-compliant employers are not afraid of it due to lack of implementation.
Under the current policy when an employee reports his erring employer to DOLE, the worker still needs to go through a tedious and long process despite presenting strong evidence that his complaint is legitimate.
Tulfo said DOLE would start by issuing a letter to the employer asking for explanation, and if said employer fails to respond, it would still be given another chance to reply.
He said this process is being exploited by abusive employers because for them, it is a way to delay the worker's chance of getting justice.
According to him, another policy supposedly being exploited by erring employers is the rule stating that complaints still need to undergo mediation, which could reach up to three hearings.
And if they cannot reach an agreement during mediation, he noted that DOLE will then forward the complaint to National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) which will only exhaust the money of workers because the complainant needs to go back and forth to NLRC.
“Worst case scenario, the case could last up to decades before getting resolved,” the lawmaker lamented.
Tulfo said this “lengthy anti-poor process” needs to be removed, and a new system implemented to give more teeth to the country’s labor laws.
“Aside from the penalty such as a higher fine, employers facing complaints should immediately pay the employees without complaining,” he said.
In August last year, Tulfo also called for a “one-strike policy” against recruitment agencies that fail to protect their overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from abusive employers following the deaths and series of maltreatment and abuses of OFW’s in several countries. (With a report from Leonel Abasola/PNA)