ECOP raises issues in security of tenure bill

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The Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) has expressed concerns on certain provisions of the draft consolidated Senate Bill (SB) 1826,  otherwise known as the “Security of Tenure and End of Endo Act of 2018,” saying it considers particular provisions to be questionable and objectionable.

In a position paper, ECOP gave its view on several provisions under the proposed law.

For one, ECOP said Section 2 (Labor-Only Contracting Is Prohibited) only defines what constitutes labor-only contracting and not what constitutes legitimate job contracting. ECOP is thus proposing that the definition of legitimate job contracting under Department Order 174 be inserted before expressly providing for prohibited acts that constitute labor-only contracting.

For another, ECOP raised concern over the Section 2 provision declaring that recruiting and supplying or placing workers to perform activities which are directly related to the principal business of the contractee constitutes labor-only contracting. This, said the organization, “is tantamount to abolishing all forms of job contracting.”

ECOP insisted that “all forms of contracting and subcontracting of work by the employer… are directly related to the main business of the principal… simply because what is contracted out pertains to the work of the principal.”

It warned that if this provision is passed into a law, it is as though all forms of contracting out have already been abolished. “The destructive impact on business, investment, as well as creation of wealth and jobs would be unimaginable.”

Moreover, ECOP said the right to enter into business is a right guaranteed to everyone under the Constitution, and to abolish all forms of contracting out is “a clear violation of the Constitution, jurisprudence and existing laws.”

The confederation also took exception to another provision in Section 2, which states: “Compliance Orders affirmed by the Secretary of Labor and Employment shall be immediately executory unless restrained by an appropriate court.”

ECOP said this provision is not only contrary to existing laws, but unconstitutional for violating the right of a person to due process and also ultra vires.

At the same time, ECOP commented on another provision, also under Section 2, that states: “The Secretary of Labor and Employment shall impose a fine of up to P5 million against any labor-only contractor….”

The employers’ group declared that “excessive fines” of up to P5 million imposed on employers is “violative of Section 19 of the Bill of Rights of the Constitution which prohibits the imposition of excessive fines.”

ECOP also objected to a provision under Section 3 of the draft bill stating that any legitimate labor organization shall have access to copies of licenses issued to job contractors and any and all submissions made in connection with such license.

“The said provision is unconstitutional,” according to ECOP. “The business of an individual or a juridical person, together with its papers and effects, entails property rights and the State cannot force or coerce any person, from doing or ceasing business, or from giving access to one’s papers and effects, subject only to limitations provided for by law.”

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