AUTO BUS TRANSPORT SYSTEMS, INC. v. BAUTISTA GR No.

156367; May 26, 2005 FACTS: Respondent Antonio Bautista was employed with petitioner Auto Bus Transport System, Inc. since May 24, 1995 as a driver-conductor of the latter’s bus. Bautista was paid on commission basis per travel on a twice a month basis. On January 3, 2000, the bus driven by Bautista accidentally bumped another bus owned by the respondent. As a result, Auto Bus did not allow Bautista to work until he paid the cost of the repair of the damaged bus. Bautista failed to pay and after given the opportunity to explain his side, Auto Bus sent him a letter for termination. Bautista then instituted a Complaint for Illegal Dismissal with Money Claims for nonpayment of 13th month pay and service incentive leave pay (SILP) against Auto Bus. Labor Arbiter Tabingan decided on the case in favor of Auto Bus, dimissing the Complaint of Bautista. However, the LA ordered Auto Bus to pay Bautista his 13th month pay from the date of his hiring to the date of his dismissal and his SILP for all the years he has been in service for the former. Auto Bus appealed the decision to the NLRC wherein the latter affirmed with modification LA’s decision. It held that Bautista, being an employee paid on commission basis, was not entitled for 13 th month pay in accordance with Section 3 of the Rules and Regulations Implementing PD No. 851, leaving Bautista with a claim for his SILP. Auto Bus filed a motion for reconsideration on the ground that Bautista was also not entitled for it. It averred that Bautista, being a “field personnel”, was an exception to the rule that employees are entitled to SILP. As a legal basis, it cited Section 1(d), Rule V, Book 3 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Labor Code which delimits the grant of the SIL, excluding among others “field personnel and other employees whose performance is unsupervised by the employer including those who are engaged on task or contract basis, purely commission basis, or those who are paid in a fixed amount for performing work irrespective of the time consumed in the performance thereof”. Auto Bus’ motion was denied and so it elevated the case to the CA which affirmed NLRC’s decision. ISSUES: 1. Whether or not Bautista is a field personnel. 2. Whether or not Bautista is entitled for service incentive leave pay. RULING: 1. The Court ruled in negative. According to Article 82 of the Labor Code, “field personnel” shall refer to non-agricultural employees who regularly perform their duties away from the principal place of business or branch office of the employer and whose actual hours of work in the field cannot be determined with reasonable certainty. The term “field personnel” is not merely concerned with the location where the employee regularly performs his duties but also with the fact that the employee’s performance is unsupervised by the employer. Thus, in order to conclude whether an employee is a field employee, it is also necessary to ascertain if actual hours of work in the field can be determined with reasonable certainty by the employer. In the case of Bautista, it was observed in the facts found by the LA that he must be at a specific place in a specified time to be able to observe prompt departure and arrival from his point of origin to his point of destination. In each and every depot, there is always a dispatcher whose function is to see to it that Bautista’s bus and its crew leave the premises at specific time and arrive at the estimated proper time. Therefore, Bautista was under constant supervision while in the performance of his work. In conclusion, he was not a field personnel but a regular employee who performs tasks usually necessary and desirable to the usual trade of Auto Bus. 2. The Court ruled in affirmative. Being a regular employee, he has the right to claim service incentive leave pay under Article 95 of the Labor Code.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful