If they cannot get security of tenure from their employers, contractual workers will at least be entitled to a substantial increase in their salaries, if a bill filed by Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson is passed into law.
Lacson, in filing Senate Bill 200, sought to increase the salaries of contractual workers by 50 percent, and to require employers to consider them as regular employees after one year of service, “whether continuous or broken.”
“The State expresses its antipathy to the pernicious practice of employers of hiring contractual employees working for a fixed period of time and rehiring them afterwards to prevent them from acquiring the status of regular employees and from enjoying the benefits accruing to the same. Said practice prevents these employees not only from acquiring security of tenure but also the enjoyment of other rights appertaining to regular employees,” Lacson said.
He noted that unscrupulous employers particularly in export-oriented industries and wholesale and retail businesses have resorted to devious schemes to subvert their employees’ right to security of tenure and other labor rights.
The most prevalent of these practices is the contractualization of job opportunities and the creation of “workers’ cooperatives” to prevent an employer-employee relationship between the company and their workers.
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Lacson also cited reports that in some big department stores, almost 90 percent of the entire workforce, mostly salesladies and store personnel, are employed on a contractual basis for five to six months. They will be fired and then rehired for another five to six months.
“The proposed measure seeks to discourage this practice by increasing the salary of contractual workers by fifty percent of their monthly and/or daily compensation with a proviso that if they are rehired and allowed to work for a period of one year, they will be considered as regular employees of the company where they are working,” he said.
He added that in view of this blatant disregard of workers’ rights, Congress needs to enact a law that will adequately and effectively put a stop to this pernicious practice, “lest we be accused of tolerating the exploitation of the working masses.”
Under the proposed law, all employers shall be required to pay all their contractual employees a monthly compensation equivalent to the total amount of their monthly and/or daily compensation plus 50 percent.
“Contractual employees who have been rehired and who have served for a cumulative period of at least one year, whether the said period be continuous or broken shall be considered regular employees,” the bill said.
It added the status of a regular employee shall immediately be conferred to the contractual employee on the day corresponding to the last day of the one year period that he/she is supposed to render.