A Philippine labor group slammed the decision of the country’s Department of Labor and Employment allowing the extension of workers’ “floating status” for another six months.
Department Order No. 215, signed by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, allows the extension “in case of declaration of war, pandemic, and similar national emergencies.”
Renato Magtubo, chairman of Partido Manggagawa (Workers Party), said the order is “deceptively presented as an amendment to the existing implementing rules and regulations when it revises the clear mandates of the Labor Code.”
He said the Labor Code does not provide for an extension of the six-month maximum “forced leave” or “floating status.”
He said labor groups have expressed opposition to this “blatantly pro-employer” order in a tripartite dialogue because it contravenes existing laws and “might open workers to employer abuse.”
“The extension of the floating status of workers beyond the six months maximum through an order is illegal as it is tantamount to executive legislation,” said Magtubo.
Employers were ordered to report to the Labor department ten days before the extension of the suspension of their workers’ employment.
Under the order, employees who find alternative employment during the extended suspension shall not lose employment except in cases of written, unequivocal, and voluntary resignation.
Meanwhile, retrenched employees will be entitled to separation pay as prescribed by the Labor Code, company policies, or Collective Bargaining Agreement, whichever is higher.
They shall also be given priority in re-hiring should they express their desire to go back to work not later than one month from the resumption of operations.