Lopez says businesses’ interests protected under Security of Tenure bill

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TRADE Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said the Security of Tenure (SoT) Bill, which is currently awaiting the signature of the President, has sufficient protections for businesses while strengthening workers’ rights.

Mr. Lopez told reporters on Monday that he supports the bill, noting that its provisions now clarify when an employee should be regularized by the contractor providing his services.

“In this new law, inaddress ang part na yun (that part has been addressed) so I am for the new law. That really improves the security of tenure process,” he said.

The SoT Bill aims to further strengthen the rights of workers by enforcing harsher penalties on those engaged in illegal forms of contract labor. The bill was passed on third reading at the Senate on May 22. The House of Representatives shortly after adopted the Senate’s version of the bill. The bill was transmitted to the Palace on June 28 according to Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III.

On July 1, Mr. Bello submitted a memorandum to the Palace co-signed by Mr. Lopez stating their support for the SoT Bill.

Mr. Lopez added that contrary to fears of businesses groups arguing that the bill will result in losses for the companies, it protects their interests as much as those of the employees.

“The provisions are reasonable enough because on the issue of company protections, with due process you can terminate people. It also allows project-based and seasonal (employment) so that the company has options. The important thing about this is that allowed pa rin (it is still allowed to do) legitimate contractualization,” he said.

Legitimate contracting refers to work done by a contractual worker that does not form part of the company’s core functions. By law, these types of work are allowed to be contracted. — Gillian M. Cortez