Our problem is The Labor Code

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty Josephus B Jimenez - The Freeman

This is 2023. Hello! Our Labor Code is vintage 1974. This code is a presidential decree imposed by a martial law authoritarian president at a time when Congress was abolished and the Supreme Court was manned by practically only one section of one Law college, almost all former classmates of the president.

The Civil Code has been amended, the Criminal Code has been modified, the Tax Code has been overhauled, the Family Code and the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Code have been enacted. But the Labor Code has remained the same, except for some hodge-podge, disjointed, and incoherent amendments that are all lacking in an overall philosophy or any unifying theme and common ideology. The Labor Code is an anachronism of today's volatile, unpredictable, complex, and ambiguous global arena. The Labor Code cannot catch up with this fast, intense, digital, and sneaky demands of the times.

The Labor Code has no more place in today's democracy and republican system of governance. Book One of the Code pushes our human capital to embrace outward migration as a preferred way of earning our livelihood. This should be totally changed and the diaspora of Filipino talents should put to an end. Book Two focuses only on vocational and technical training as the core of human development. This was good enough for the ‘60’s and ‘70’s. But today, our people need a higher level of empowerment geared at total development of knowledge, attitude, skills, and habits (KASH). The Labor Code should be values-driven, stressing our culture of malasakit, pagka-magaling, at bayanihan.

Book Three of the current Labor Code is forcing employers and employees to reward work based solely on time or wages based on hourly, daily, monthly or annual rates. It is time to give both employers and employees a productivity-based framework of compensation and benefits. Special benefits for women on maternity and violence-based should be charged to the SSS, PhilHealth, or DSWD. The employers should not be punished by making them spend more if and when their husbands or lovers inflict on them physical, emotional, and even financial violence. The employers should not be compelled to spend more if employees become solo parents. These are good charitable works but let the government shoulder the cost of its own charity.

Book Four should be amended in order to integrate the SSS and the GSIS so as to achieve the economy of scale. And these social agencies should stop denying claims only to be reversed by the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court on workers' claims for work-related diseases, disability, and death. Book Five should be completely overhauled. We should stop copying from the US which is fixated on compulsory arbitration. Labor cases should be in the hands of mediators, conciliators, and voluntary arbitrators. The NLRC should be abolished as it remains inefficient and, even at times, led by people with questionable competence and integrity.

The framework of labor-management relations should be attuned to the Asian culture of friendly consensus-building instead of the adversarial, confrontational, and legalistic approach to industrial peace. The labor dispute resolution system should be limited to only two steps instead of four as of today. Case resolution should have shorter and stricter deadlines and big law firms shouldn’t be allowed to earn millions while the workers are denied what’s due them. Book Six should be improved and management prerogatives to discipline and dismissed should be respected. Government should stop interfering in the enforcement of company policies and should allow business to have some leeway in modifying human behavior in private business organizations.

The time has come to formulate a new framework of employment relations. Government should stop interfering in the management of business and in leading employees. Government should trust employers to exercise what’s just, fair and equitable. Government should practice what it preaches. It should regularize its tens of thousands of casuals and contractuals, and almost a million job order workers sans any medical insurance, health insurance, and even denied employer-employee relations.

Government should focus on national defense, foreign affairs, and justice, and leave business to the businessmen.

vuukle comment



  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with