Imee: Change Labor Advisories To Resolve Floating Status Of Employees ASAP

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Senator Imee Marcos said advisories issued by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) should be changed immediately to resolve the floating status of employees who continue to face the COVID-19 pandemic without any income.

“Six months is too long for employees to be on floating status without pay during an economic crisis. Employees feel that their patience is being pushed to the point that they would just resign, so that their employers can void tenure and need not pay the separation benefits due for every year of service,” Marcos explained.

Labor advisories 9 and 17 allow companies to modify work arrangements and adjust wages and wage-related benefits for up to six months as remedial measures while community quarantines are in place.

“Despite the good intentions to preserve employment while helping business in distress, the DOLE advisories were made in haste and lacked thorough review. They failed to take into account the temporary nature of ECQ, GCQ, et cetera,” Marcos said.

“There is no more reason to put employees on floating status because we are now under GCQ in Metro Manila, where most call centers are located. The business process outsourcing sector was already allowed to operate at full capacity even under a stricter quarantine level,” Marcos pointed out, citing Resolution 38 of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Marcos recommended that a new DOLE advisory should require companies to decide the fate of employees on floating status within 30 days, as well as the time frame in which to bring back those who will be retained.

Marcos added that the new advisory should also state that a company can file a request for retrenchment with the Labor department after a month of losing a significant volume of its business.

“This would make for a labor advisory that is fair to all because it clarifies the status of both employee and employer. Employees will be informed of their work status at the soonest possible time, while companies can avail of a remedy to cut losses, if indeed business has suffered such low volume and has put the company in the red,” Marcos said.

More pleas for help reached the senators office Tuesday from call center employees, now including persons with disability, who have lost up to 120 workdays of income due to forced leaves under a no-work, no-pay arrangement and with no assurance of keeping their jobs.

Some call center employees said that they had reached out to DOLE assistant secretary Dominique Tutay who relayed their complaints to IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) chief Rey Untal but up to now no investigation has been conducted.