‘Obsolete,’ ‘stupid’ provisions

With Christmas in the offing, Sen. Ralph Recto’s Senate Bill 2879, raising the tax exemption threshold of the 13th-month pay from P30,000 to P60,000, is surely good news. The sad news is it will benefit only employees earning more than P30,000 a month, which are not too many.

More than three decades after the Labor Code’s passage, the bigger bulk of this country’s employee sector sadly remains unorganized. For them, forming or joining a union—so they may bargain collectively with their employers for better working terms—is not unlike enlisting with the Katipunan in Andres Bonifacio’s time: One may not be charged for insurrection, but he risks losing his job.

Indeed, it is bad enough that the unorganized working sector remains extremely marginalized despite the spawning of the animal called party-list system in our political landscape. It is worse that the career paths of the concerned member-employees hang so precariously at the mercy of the code, some of whose provisions may have either grown obsolete or are deemed ab initio stupid, yet wittingly or unwittingly ignored by present-day lawmakers.

For example, what monumental difference exists between a regular and a special nonworking holiday? As things stand, a daily rated worker gets an additional 100 percent pay over and above his basic wage rate for working during a regular holiday, but only an extra 30 percent on a special holiday. He is also guaranteed a day’s pay even if he does not report for work on a regular holiday, but receives nothing for not working on a special holiday.

Some say a daily-waged worker need not be allowed to suffer any loss in his normal pay because it is simply not his fault that a day is a nonworking regular holiday. True. But shouldn’t that equally apply to special holidays? I submit, it should apply more commonsensically to special holidays (which are just suddenly declared) than to regular holidays (which everybody knows at the start of any given year and for which workers should be able to make some reasonable allowance). That argument, to boot, is totally moot, as both regular and special holidays are now announced by the administration before the start of any given year.

Meanwhile, relatively shorter workweeks, higher overtime/night differential rates, and longer sick, vacation and other leave entitlements have become commonplace for workers in practically all business establishments, but remain impossible dreams in those where employees have yet to forge collective bargaining agreements. These are just among several provisions in our labor code. Chances are there may yet be other laws that have long ached for updating, lest they continue to leave a bad taste in people’s mouth.

That said, I do not wish to sound like an ingrate to Senator Recto’s otherwise well-meant legislation. I would have just been a bit happier if, the next time he crafts another employee-related law, it would truly be a boon to a relatively broader spectrum of our working populace.—RUDY L. CORONEL, rudycoronel2004@yahoo.com

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Short URL: http://opinion.inquirer.net/?p=42425

Tags: employees , labor , laws , Philippines , ralph recto

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


  • Anti-gay demo in Ethiopia cancelled
  • Obama launches measures to support solar energy in US
  • Nebraska toddler gets stuck inside claw machine
  • Philippine eagle rescued by Army turned over to DENR
  • Gunmen attack Iraq military base, kill 10 soldiers
  • Sports

  • Vietnam says it will not host Asian Games
  • Nadal passes clay landmark with 300th victory
  • Wawrinka waltzes through with Monte Carlo walkover
  • Power Pinays smash India in Asian Women’s Club volleyball opener
  • PH youth boxers off to stumbling start in AIBA World tilt
  • Lifestyle

  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  • Entertainment

  • Cannes film festival launches race for 2014 Palme d’Or
  • Jones, Godard, Cronenberg in competition at Cannes
  • Will Arnett files for divorce from Amy Poehler
  • American rapper cuts own penis, jumps off building
  • Jay Z to bring Made in America music fest to LA
  • Business

  • Total says makes ‘very promising’ oil find off Ivory Coast
  • ‘Chinese Twitter’ firm Weibo to go public in US
  • World stocks subdued, Nikkei flat on profit taking
  • Asia stocks fail to match Wall Street gains
  • Fired Yahoo exec gets $58M for 15 months of work
  • Technology

  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Filipinos #PrayForSouthKorea
  • Taylor Swift tries video blogging, crashes into fan’s bridal shower
  • DOF: Tagaytay, QC best at handling funds
  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Malaysia quarantines 64 villagers over MERS virus
  • DFA: 2 Filipinos survive Korean ferry disaster
  • PH asks airline passengers to check for MERS
  • Syria most dangerous country for journalists, PH 3rd—watchdog
  • Japan says visa-free entry still a plan
  • Marketplace