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Friday, April 19, 2024

Nograles banks on bills seeking workers’ welfare

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THE chairman of the House Committee on Labor and Employment expressed confidence last Sunday that Filipino workers can soon enjoy a better working environment with the approval of several bills promoting their welfare.

Rizal Rep. Juan Fidel Felipe F. Nograles, the panel chairman, said the bills providing better environment for workers are now pending in the Senate following their recent passage on third and final reading at the House of Representatives.

“I am confident that the Senate will pass their counterpart measures soon for immediate transmittal to the Palace for [the] President’s signature and implementation,” Nograles said.

House Bill (HB) 1270 (Eddie Garcia Act), provides better protection for workers of the movie and television industry by requiring employers to provide workers or contractors a copy of a contract that explicitly states the number of work hours, job position and description, period of employment, details of compensation and other conditions that will affect the person’s work.

The bill also states that the employer would be required to adhere to all laws related to occupational safety and health standards and provide all workers with government-mandated benefits.

The measure provides that workers are entitled to overtime pay if they render their services beyond eight hours, with a maximum extension of only up to 12 hours. Workers are also prohibited from rendering more than 60 hours a week. Their travel time to-and-from work is also considered as part of working hours.

Freelancing, productivity

MEANWHILE, HB 6718 (Freelance Workers Protection Act) is seen to benefit the country’s at least 1.5 million freelance workers.

HB 6718 defines a freelance worker as any natural person or entity composed of no more than one natural person, whether incorporated under the Securities and Exchange Commission, registered as a sole proprietorship under the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) or registered as self-employed with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

The measure requires the hiring party and freelance workers to enter into a written contract that clearly specifies the workers’ task, period of completion, compensation, and schedule of payment. It prohibits any deviations or modifications of the terms in the contract, such as reduction in the fees or an expanded scope of work, unless agreed upon and signed in a revised contract by both parties.

The bill also prohibits the engagement of a freelance worker without a contract, or delay in payment beyond 15 days from the date stipulated in the contract. Aggrieved parties of such violations can file their complaint with the labor department’s Undersecretary for Workers with Special Concerns, and may file a civil case. Violators who are found guilty could be penalized with a fine ranging from P50,000 to P500,000.

HB 6683 (Enterprise Productivity Act), which effectively repeals Republic Act (RA) 6971 (Productivity Incentives Act of 1990), requires the establishment of a productivity incentive program for employees of enterprises who have 10 or more workers.

It also establishes a system of tax incentives for enterprises, small or large, that will successfully establish and implement a productivity incentives program for their employees.

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