A comprehensive review of the labor code to amend certain provisions that will improve the economic and social benefits and protection of workers should be pursued by the government in the absence of a wage increase, Senator Chiz Escudero said.
“The clamor for a wage increase has been there since the start of the decade. Average asking rate has not changed much, standing at an average of P125. If this is not feasible in the most immediate time, what we can and have to do instead is to reassess our labor code. We have been referring to our labor code which has been modeled in the 70’s. Some, if not most, of the provisions may already be passé,” Escudero pointed out.
Escudero said a thorough review of the labor code will enable the government, the labor force and the private sector to leverage among one another in addressing the pressing issue of wage increase vis-à-vis the rising cost of living and specific issues of all the sectors concerned.
Among the provisions that should be revisited are the restructuring of the visitorial and enforcement powers of the labor secretary to ensure due process as well as allow self-regulation and inspection in the workplace; allowing exceptions to night work prohibition for women to address the concerns of BPOs; and inclusion of gross inefficiency and poor performance as a just cause for dismissal.
“Aside from these, some provisions in the code are outdated and do not conform with the modern setup. These should be reviewed if we are to push for further investments and public-private partnerships,” the senator said.
While Escudero recognizes that the call for a wage hike is tenable given the rising needs and interests of the workers, systemic reforms and interventions should also be given equal attention to further promote their benefits.