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Will it end? (continuation)

By Dr. Ramon Ricardo A. Roque, CESOI, Diplomate

Ending the “endo” practice in our country requires a comprehensive review of our existing labor laws that are obviously vulnerable to violation at the expense of those in the labor sector.

There is no denying that amendments to the existing Labor Code is needed to advance the interests of our labor sector.

The case of the “endo” practice is a strong argument in favor of amending the Labor Code.

For one, our legislators should address provisions in our laws that allow abusive employers to use the allowed probationary period of employment in avoiding altogether the permanent employment of laborers and thus the grant of mandated benefits.

The hiring of employees on probationary status presupposes the eligibility of concerned employees. The law should not make it easy for employers not to hire concerned employees on a permanent basis. There should be clear and strict standards on when an employee who has been hired on probationary basis will not be hired as a permanent employee after the probationary period.

The performance required from employees on probation should be clear and measurable and it should only be after establishing that the employee failed to deliver the required performance can the employee be denied what is supposed to the “right” to be hired on a permanent basis.

Without classifying permanent employment as a “right” for employees who are able to prove that they can perform as required, employers will continue to use solely their discretion and one can expect that such discretion will be used in ways that will maximize their profits and not advance the welfare of Filipino workers.

The review of existing labor laws should also cover the parameters of contractual labor employment that will be allowed. The law should be clearer on the definition of contractual employment including the applicability of the same on specific business sectors. The law should be clear enough that no room is left for employers to interpret contractual employment in any other way.

The labor sector cannot demand for the total prohibition of contractual employment as there are really business demands for temporary or limited labor engagement. It will not be in the best interest of the Filipino workers to force employers to hire employees on permanent basis only even if it be detrimental to the survival of the business organization.

The practice of “endo” or will end only if the government has the political will to institutionalize arrangements that will balance the interests both of labor and business organizations.