On Wednesday, the Philippine Information Agency Region 10 in partnership with the Limketkai Luxe Hotel, once again held its weekly program, Talakayan sa Limketkai at PIA, at the Kave Restaurant function room of the Limketkai Luxe Hotel. The week’s program topic deals with the issues concerning End of Contractual Jobs, or ENDO, as it is sometimes called.
This also happens to be the very first Talakayan program for 2017. The guest for this week’s PIA Talakayan program is Director II and Technical Division Chief for the Department of Labor and Employment, Region 10 (DOLE X), Mr. Atheneus Vasallo.
Pia Talakayan at Limketkai Luxe 1st Episode for 2017: Endo (End of Contractualization) with Guest Dole Technical Chief Atheneus Vasallo
Posted by About Cagayan de Oro – Acadeo on Tuesday, January 17, 2017
ENDO is actually a Filipino slang term that means, “End of Contract,” and was simply adopted as a legal term to describe the practice of “contractualization” (also a slang term) by businesses. According to Mr. Vasallo, if based on the mandate of Article 281 of the Labor Code that has been enforced since 1974, then the practice of ENDO is actually illegal. The mandate of the law states that after six months of working for a company, an employee automatically becomes regularized. Regularization must not exceed 6 months and the employee gets to enjoy the benefits of a regular employee such as leaves and 13th month pay, aside from other benefits the company may give out.
However, many companies in the Philippines try to avoid this by using the scheme of ENDO: Workers are hired for only five months and their contracts are ended to avoid regularizing them. Then they hire the same employee again, or hire a new one, to start the cycle of ENDO again. Thus, there are cases of minimum wage earners being renewed every five months over a period of 20 or more years. But in most cases, after five months, the contract is terminated and a fresh batch of workers comes in for another five-month cycle.
The practice of ENDO thus, is illegal because it frees employers from providing benefits that is rightfully theirs under the law. The only exception to this law is if the industry category falls under only hiring contractual employees, such as in the case of construction projects. Therefore, establishments like restaurants, malls, and hotels can legally practice ENDO because they also have a set of regularized employees. Since the Duterte administration is adamant to truly end the practice of ENDO, Secretary of Labor Rosalinda Baldoz issued Department Order 18-A, in order to decrease the number of registered sub-contractors legally allowed to hire only contractual workers. As of March 2014, from 17,000 the number has gone down to only 5,581.
As for DOLE X, it is at present attempting to fast track the end of the practice of ENDO, which already started in September of the previous year. At first DOLE issued calls for Voluntary Compliance and Joint Assessments for private sector companies. This resulted in 3,830 contractual workers being absorbed as regular workers in the private sector as of December 2016. In continuity, DOLE X Regional Director Raymundo G. Agravante is still calling on the support of the private sector and labor sectors in order for employees to enjoy the benefits of being regularized employees by ending the practice of ENDO. Agravante emphasizes that under the present administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, they seek to end all unjust labor practices among the country’s workers.
DOLE X is presently maximizing its operations on the ENDO fast track. It has instructed its Labor Laws Compliance Officers (LLCOs) to regulate the strict enforcement of all existing laws and regulations, as issued from “Department Order No. 162, or the suspension in the processing of new applications, and Labor Advisory No. 10, which is the reiteration that Labor-Only Contracting (LOC) is prohibited under the law. Again, this is in response with the call of the president to end all ENDO practices. At present, all Regional Offices of DOLE are ordered to suspend all processing of new applications for contractors and sub-contractors as stipulated in Department Order No. 18-A as mentioned above.
Thus, DOLE is now in the process of monitoring and inventorying all contracting and sub-contracting arrangements. LLCOs then conduct assessments and ensure proper findings on Labor Only Contracting. These LLCOs are also empowered to intervene at any time for affected workers that may be found to be victims of the practice of ENDO or other labor only unscrupulous practices. DOLE X is also prioritizing the assessment of establishments who are in the habit of practicing ENDO / 555 / 666 or who are frequently renewing contracts of their workers to avoid regularization. The practice itself of ENDO is a circumvention of security of tenure which is under the present law (Labor Code) and guidelines, and is therefore a violation of the law. For now, the Central Office is still framing up new guidelines for contracting and subcontracting arrangements. When this is approved, Regional Offices will then conduct information drives and disseminations with consultations among the stakeholders.