Bello: DOLE eyes ‘win-win’ option to end ‘endo,  555’

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By Leilani S. Junio / Philippines News Agency

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) will formulate a policy on employment contractualization based on the proposals of employer and labor groups before the end of the year.

“We will come up with a policy or guideline that will be enforced by the department before the year ends. We will decide whether we will end contractualization, allow contractualization, or come up with a balance of the two positions,” Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III said, after a high-level dialogue between representatives of employers and labor groups at the labor department in Intramuros, Manila, on Tuesday.

The department, he said, is studying the “win-win structure” proposed by the trade department and supported by various employers’ groups, among them the Employers’ Confederation of the Philippines, Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Philippine Association of Local Service Contractors.

The trade department’s win-win structure suggests that workers be hired as regulars by their contractors with full benefits, including leave credits, 13th-month pay, and Social Security System  and Philippine Health Insurance Corp. benefits, among others.

Under the structure, workers get deployed or redeployed to principals when needed, while companies/principals will have the flexibility to hire workers as regulars or outsource due to seasonality or specific functions. It requires the strict compliance of service providers in giving full benefits to the workers.

The labor groups, on the other hand, will come up with their own unified proposal after a Visayas and Mindanao island-wide summit.

On October 17 representatives of various labor groups gathered at the Occupational Safety and Health Center (OSHC) in Quezon City for the Luzon Labor Summit and submitted an initial proposal.

The labor summit was convened to gather inputs from the labor sector regarding the implementation of labor and employment strategies, policies, programs and activities that will support efforts in translating Bello’s eight-point policy agenda.

Earlier, Bello expressed confidence that the government could end all illegitimate contractualization practices in the country.

“Putting a stop to endo will not be that easy, but I am confident that with the determination of the department and the support of our partners, we can put an end to illegitimate contractualization, including ‘555’ and endo, and provide security of tenure to all our workers,” the labor chief said.

Endo refers to end of contract, while 555 is the practice of hiring workers for a period of five months only, so employers could dodge granting them benefits.