Background

The Philippines Department of Labor and Employment ("DOLE") recently issued the long-overdue Rules on Labor Laws Compliance System ("LLCS"). The LLCS is an integrated framework of voluntary compliance and enforcement of Philippine labor laws and social legislations issued pursuant to the rule-making, visitorial and enforcement power of the DOLE. It ensures compliance through Joint Assessment, Compliance Visit, and Occupational Safety and Health Standards Investigation.

Modes of implementing LLCS

Joint Assessment

The basic premise of the joint assessment is evaluating compliance with labor laws and social legislations through a joint undertaking by a Labor Laws Compliance Officer ("LLCO") and the representatives of the employers and the employees using a prescribed assessment checklist.

Private establishments shall be assessed at least once a year motu propio on the part of the DOLE Regional Office or upon request by the establishment. The LLCO, in the presence of the representatives of the employers and employees, shall review the employment records, interview the employees, and inspect the work premises to determine compliance with labor laws and social legislations. The representatives of the employees and employer may provide additional information or data for the LLCO to consider.

Compliance Visit

This mode refers to the act of validating compliance with labor laws and social legislations based on a complaint.  

Compliance visit covers instances when a complaint is filed against an establishment or upon receipt of a Single Entry Approach ("SEnA") referral. SEnA pertains to a speedy, impartial, and inexpensive proceedings through conciliation-mediation where parties are given the opportunity to settle amicably the compliance deficiencies and to prevent them from ripening into full blown disputes.

Upon receipt of the complaint or SEnA referral, the DOLE Regional Director shall direct the LLCO to immediately conduct the compliance visit. The LLCO shall proceed to the establishment to review the employment records, interview the employees, and inspect the work premises to determine compliance with labor laws and social legislations.   

In both Joint Assessment and Compliance Visit, should the establishment be found compliant, the LLCO shall issue the accomplished assessment checklist and the Notice of Results indicating compliance with labor laws. The LLCO shall recommend to the DOLE Regional Director the issuance of Certificate(s) of Compliance.

In case of non-compliance, the LLCO shall provide the establishment with the accomplished assessment checklist which indicates the noted deficiency. If it involves monetary and/or social welfare benefits, the establishment shall institute corrective measures within 10 days from receipt of the assessment checklist. Otherwise, a Notice of Results indicating the noted deficiency shall be issued by the LLCO.

The continuous refusal of an employer to provide access to records and premises shall constitute as violation of the Labor Code of the Philippines and appropriate criminal action shall be undertaken against the employer.

Occupational Safety and Health Standards Investigation

This mode involves the process of determining the existence of imminent danger, dangerous occurrence, accident resulting to disabling injury or analogous circumstances within the workplace based on a report or information. "Imminent Danger" refers to a condition or practice in any workplace that can be reasonably expected to cause death or serious physical harm. "Disabling Injury" refers to a work injury which results to death, permanent total disability, permanent partial disability or temporary total disability.

Within 24 hours from receipt of the information of existence of imminent danger/dangerous occurrence, the DOLE Regional Director shall direct the LLCO to conduct an investigation.

The LLCO shall conduct investigation and determine compliance with labor laws. Upon determination of existence of imminent danger/dangerous occurrence, the LLCO shall recommend to the establishment the necessary corrective action to immediately abate the imminent danger/dangerous occurrence. If abated, the LLCO shall submit a report to the DOLE Regional Director. If not abated, the LLCO shall issue a Notice of Results to the establishment and submit a report to the DOLE Regional Director on the existence of imminent danger/dangerous occurrence and/or other labor standards violations and recommend a Work Stoppage Order ("WSO") within 24 hours

In cases of disabling injury, the DOLE Regional Director shall immediately issue a WSO within 24 hours from receipt of the information of existence of disabling injury and shall direct the LLCO to conduct an investigation.

During a work stoppage attributable to the fault of the employer, the employer shall pay his/her employees all the monetary benefits to which they are entitled for the duration of the WSO.

Mandatory Conference, Compliance Order and Appeal

Within ten days from receipt of the Notice of Results in Joint Assessment or after the lapse of the period of correction in Compliance Visit, the hearing officer shall conduct mandatory conferences.

The proceedings shall be summary in nature. The DOLE Regional Office shall avail of all reasonable means to speedily and objectively ascertain the facts of the controversy including ocular inspection and examination of well-informed persons.

The DOLE Regional Director shall issue a Compliance Order within ten days from the termination of the mandatory conference. The Compliance Order shall include a provision indicating that the employer shall be liable for double indemnity for refusal or failure to pay the prescribed wage increase or adjustment. The Compliance Order may be appealed to the Office of the Secretary of DOLE within ten days from receipt thereof.

Certificate of Compliance

After validating the findings of compliance by the LLCO in a Joint Assessment, Compliance Visit, or Occupational Safety and Health Investigation, the DOLE Regional Director shall issue the appropriate certificate of compliance. The certificate shall be valid for a period of two years from the date of issuance. Within the two year period, the establishment is presumed to be compliant with labor laws and social legislations. No assessment shall be conducted within the validity of the certificate of compliance unless a complaint is filed, in which case, a Compliance Visit shall be immediately conducted.