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Labor Standards in Dipolog City Business Establishments It is incumbent upon every business establishment engaged in trade and commerce

to observe the Labor Standards laws and other rules and regulations. This is the basic requirement provided by our laws, rules, and regulations which cannot be compromised. These laws provide for the monetary benefits, and include wages, hours of work, cost-of-living allowance, and other monetary and welfare benefits, including occupational, safety, and health standards. Article XIII Section 3 of the 1987 Constitution provides that the State shall afford full protection to labor, local and overseas, organized and unorganized, and promote full employment and equality of employment opportunities for all. Labor Laws and Legislations are important instruments to ensure that the ends of Social Justice will be achieved and that the fundamental rights and principles of Labor and Capital are respected therefore achieving a safe, prosperous and healthy workplace. However, without effective enforcement of Labor Standard laws, this goal cannot be achieved completely. As noble as our legislators have provided laws , and while there has been a growing recognition of the increased importance of Labor Standard laws, the fact always remains that what we read in our books and what has been advertised in the media is not always the case when it comes to reality. The gap between the ideal setting provided by law and reality is actually miles apart. Try to ask an ordinary employee in the mall or any business establishment, how much do they earn? Are they even aware of their rights pertaining to Labor Standards? Are they even aware of overtime pay? Do they have health insurance? Surely their answers will vary. Some have been paid the minimum wage, while others are have not and are not even aware such standards exist. In Dipolog City, a third class city and the capital of the province of Zamboanga del Norte and most importantly the place where I live, such lackluster implementation of Labor Standards is nothing new. If I were asked of the question of whether Labor Standards are being followed in business establishments in Dipolog, my answer would surely be an I dont know about that. Well, partly maybe. Such question lingers on my mind as a law student. Do these standards really exist in actual business establishments in Dipolog? Do employers in Dipolog really observe these standards? Well, definitely I need answers. I need to be aware of the facts actually happening in my area rather than just read my book in Labor Law, so that I can contribute to my fellow Dipolognons as an active, responsible, and law abiding citizen. For this reason, I endeavored to inspect and hear the views of the actual players of both labor and capital. Starting with the employers side, I went to some of the business establishments I knew downtown. Considering that random employers would not give me honest answers, especially if such is contrary to their interest and security, I decided to limit the employers I interviewed to those who were already close to me. This way, my chances of eliciting honest answers would be high. It is understandable for them to answer in the positive, as a negative answer would mean a violation of the law.

Expectedly, most of the employers I interviewed claimed to have complied with the minimum Labor Standards, and even way above. However, for some few, they confessed to sometimes fail to comply. According to them, they are not very familiar with the Labor Standards, more so, the ever changing economy of our country makes it really hard for them to abide with the standards. One employer said It is impossible to observe everything the DOLE is requiring from us, especially when our business is losing and at the verge of bankruptcy. We need to be flexible and wise, and we need to adopt. Another employer said, It is not that we dont want to comply, its just that its really hard and complicated. There are certain instances when some of our employees need to work overtime due to some work that needs to be done immediately, and surely, it would be very hectic on our part to record those times that they went overtime, its just hard for us to monitor those things all the time. Notably, under Article 83 of the Labor Code, the normal hours of work of any employee shall not exceed eight(8) hours a day, for five(5) day a week, exclusive of time for meals, except where the exigencies of the service require that such personnel work for six(6) days or forty-eight(48) hours, in which case they shall be entitled to an additional compensation of at least thirty percent (30%) of their regular wage for work on the sixth day. However, most employers fail to recognize this right to give overtime pay to the employees. While others fail in terms of hours of work, some also fail in terms of providing the minimum working conditions required by law. Article 130 of the Labor Code provides certain nightwork prohibitions No woman, regardless of age, shall be employed or permitted or suffered to work, with or without compensation: (a) In any industrial undertaking or branch thereof between ten oclock at night and six o clock in the morning of the following day. Yet one of the employers said that Sometimes, we have no choice but to ask some of our women workers to go on duty. Sometimes we run short with employees manning our business establishment, especially when the others are absent, especially during night time duties. Cleary, even some of the employers themselves admitted that there were indeed violations, and that the Labor Standard laws are poorly practiced in Dipolog City. Sadly but true, it is an indication of a weak and ineffective implementation system of ensuring compliance. Now we go the other side and more interesting half of the story, the employees. Compared to interviewing employers, interviewing employees was not that hard. Employees are readily available almost everywhere. Dipolog is such a progressive and booming city, the streets are busy, and everywhere you go, there are commercial establishments. The results however were astounding. As individual stories of the employees unfold, I came to realize and reaffirm my previous belief of the existence of that wide gap between the ideal setting provided by law and the actual

implementation being followed by the employers. Non-observance of Labor Standards exist almost everywhere, and employees lack awareness of their rights. The first employee I interviewed was a bakery worker in a bakeshop comprising of at least 20 employees. He said Yes sometimes I do work during holidays, but I do not know that I have rights to additional payment during overtime work and holidays, our employers never gave such additional compensation and we just receive the same payment, and same goes for sure to our other co-workers. Most of the time, we do work for more than eight(8) hours a day. Perhaps all the employees in their establishment are not even aware of Article 87 of the Labor CodeOvertime work- Work may be performed beyond eight (8) hours a day provided the employee is paid for the overtime work an additional compensation equivalent to his regular wage plus at least twenty-five(25%) percent thereof. Work performed beyond eight hours on a holiday or rest day shall be paid an additional compensation equivalent to the rate of the first eight hours or rest day plus at least thirty (30%) percent thereof. The next employee to give his testimony was a private school teacher. He is an old friend of mine, and a former classmate in highschool. This time, I was expecting that somehow he knew some of the Labor Standard laws because he was a college graduate in a well known university. I asked him, Sir, Im quite sure that you are aware of some of the basic Labor Standards of employment provided by law, what can you say about the implementation of Labor Standards in some of the business establishments in Dipolog?. He answered Worst. If I were to rate the compliance of Labor Standards from a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 is the lowest and 10 is the highest, I would give it a 2. The truth is, they dont really comply with the standards, and employees like us, well, although we know that we have the rights, but nevertheless we have no choice. Nowadays it is very hard to get a good job in Dipolog and we are at the mercy of our employers. We are afraid to get kicked out from employment if we complained with what they provide us. Although we are receiving below the minimum, somehow we need to sacrifice that fact just to retain our job. If you dont have a job, you will not survive. As I continued my interview from employee to employee, I discovered that most of them have similar experiences, such as failure by the employers to pay minimum wage, failure to pay additional compensation for overtime work and holidays, failure to pay service incentive leave, failure to provide health insurance benefits, failure to keep a safe and healthy environment, and other shortcomings by the employer. Finally, after gathering data from both sides of the labor and capital sector, I moved on and drew my conclusion to this matter. Without a doubt, Social Justice is a far cry from reality! Poor implementation of Labor Standard laws existed in almost every establishment in Dipolog and the employees and employers could only care less. What indeed is our government doing to address this problem? What ways and methods were the Department of Labor and Employment used? And how come they were so ineffective?

A perpetual challenge by the limited technical capacity and disproportionately low number of staffmcomprising its labour inspectorate as compared to the ever increasing number of inspectionable establishments situated

In the Philippines, the Department of Labour and Employment (DOLE) has been perpetually challenged by the limited technical capacity and disproportionately low number of staff comprising its labour inspectorate as compared to the ever increasing number of inspectionable establishments situated inspections of workplaces for promoting compliance with the extant national labour legislations have been both infrequent and ineffective, as reflected by the high incidence of accidents and injuries in the workplace. I