Tripartite approach eyed in monitoring compliance with labor standards

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/13 January) — Labor personnel here have adopted a new assessment system for local companies and other business establishments in a bid to strengthen the enforcement of various labor laws and policies in the area.

Patricio Blanza, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) director here, said Monday they decided to implement the tripartite approach for its upcoming annual assessment of local establishments or employers to determine their compliance with the government’s labor standards.

He said the new approach mainly shifts their enforcement strategy from the previous inspection to the assessment of employers.

Instead of fielding labor inspectors, he said they will be assigning labor compliance officers to spearhead the assessment activities along with representatives from the company or business establishment and their employees’ union.

“We opted for this (tripartite) approach to facilitate proper discussions and resolution of problems that might arise regarding the compliance of a certain employer to the labor standards,” Blanza said.

The official said the assessment, which will begin on January 16, will focus on the compliance of local employers with the minimum wage law, holiday pay regulations, standard social welfare benefits and bonuses as well as occupational health and safety standards (OSH).

He said they will specifically check whether an establishment has enrolled its workers with the Social Security System, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation and the Pag-Ibig Fund.

For the benefits, Blanza said they will determine if the employers have given their employees the mandated 13th month pay.

On the OSH, he said they will strict with the assessment of the workplaces and the compliance of the establishments to its standards.

“If during the assessment the team finds problems that poses imminent dangers that might possibly cause injuries to the workers, it can recommend to the department the issuance of a stoppage order for the establishment,” Blanza added.

A number of establishments were penalized by DOLE Region 12 last year for violation of the labor standards, among them the provisions on the OSH standards and social welfare benefits of workers.

From January to October 2013, DOLE-12 has inspected a total of 1,029 establishments covering 41,563 workers in the region regarding their compliance with the general labor standards.

Region 12, which is also known as the Soccsksargen Region, comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

Such figure was 29 more or has breached by 2.9 percent the agency’s target of 1,000 establishments for the year.

Of the 1,029 establishments, DOLE-12 reported that 736 or 71.5 percent were found compliant with the general labor standards, OSH and social welfare benefits.

A total of 37 companies have made corrections at plant level, with restitutions amounting to P2.719 million benefiting 256 workers, it said. (MindaNews)