De Lima thumbs down House proposal for 2-year work probationary period

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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has joined her colleagues in Congress and the rest of Filipino workers’ rights activists in rejecting a House proposal extending the probationary period of new employees from six months to two years.

De Lima said the proposed two-year probationary period for workers cannot solve the labor sector’s long-time woes, including contractualization or End of Contract (Endo) labor practice, but instead promote further abusive practices against Filipino workers.

Pahahabain pa nito lalo ang paghihirap ng mga manggagawa. It is a fog in which to hide the real issue,” she said in her recent Dispatch from Crame No. 630.

“This is a mindless and heartless proposal, and at the core, anti-workers. Worse, it is antithetical to the long overdue anti-ENDO or security of tenure bill,” she added.

Rep. Jose Singson Jr. recently filed House Bill No. (HB) 4802 extending the six-month probationary period to two years, claiming that the current period is not sufficient for an employer to determine an employee’s fitness for regularization.

Despite receiving objections from several senators and labor agencies and groups, Singson still refused to withdraw the bill as he insisted that HB No. 4802 is a permanent fix to the highly-criticized contractualization practice in the country.

A common yet illegal practice that affects most Filipinos from poor and middle-class families, contractualization saw employment contracts being terminated before the 6th month to avoid giving employees with benefits accorded to regular workers.

De Lima, who chairs the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development, pointed out that HB No. 4802 would openly allow employers to exploit workers’ labor for close to two years before cheating them of regularization and depriving them of their lawful benefits.

“This is worse than 5-5-5. [I]f workers had been made to fall short in finishing their probationary period when it was shorter, how much easier would it be for unscrupulous employers to apply the same trick when the period is longer?” she asked.

“Perhaps those against the anti-ENDO bill and the forces behind this new proposal should be taught, in the words of Dickens, to shake hands every day with common sense and (labor) justice,” she added.

Serving the second half of his one-time, six-year term, Mr. Duterte continued to fail on his electoral promise to end the practice of contractualization because he allegedly has a hard time balancing the demands of the labor sector and businesses.  (30)

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