FAQ’s on Labor Law

FAQ’s on Labor Law

Does the NLRC commit grave abuse of discretion if it finds the violation of a return to work order despite the failure of an employer to prove otherwise?

Yes. Where the employer fails to satisfactorily establish any violation of the Labor Secretary’s retun-to-work-order, any contrary finding by the Labor Arbiter and the National Labor Relations Commission is committed with grave abuse of discretion.

What are the elements of the crime of illegal recruitment in large scale?

The essential elements of the crime of illegal recruitment in large scale are: (1) the accused engages in acts of recruitment and placement of workers defined under Art. 13(b) or in any prohibited activities under Art. 34 of the Labor Code; (2) the accused has not complied with the guidelines issued by the Secretary of Labor and Employment, particularly with respect to the securing of a license or an authority to recruit and deploy workers, either locally or overseas; and (3) the accused commits the unlawful acts against three or more persons, individually or as a group.

When is abandonment a valid ground for dismissal?

For an abandonment to constitute a valid ground for dismissal there must be a clear, deliberate and unjustified refusal to resume employment and a clear intention to sever the employer-employee relationship on the part of the employee.

How is an appeal taken to the NLRC?

An appeal from the Labor Arbiter’s decision to the NLRC may be taken (1) by filing a verified memorandum of appeal and (2) by paying the appeal fees within ten calendar days from receipt of a decision, award or order of the Labor Arbiter,both of which requisites must be satisfied, otherwise the running of the prescriptive period for perfecting an appeal will not be tolled.

Is the Secretary of Labor empowered to determine the effectivity of arbitral awards?

In the absence of a specific provision of law prohibiting retroactivity of the effectivity of arbitral awards issued by the Secretary of Labor, he is deemed vested with plenary and discretionary powers to determine the effectivity thereof.

How are findings of fact by the Labor Department treated upon appeal?

Factual findings of quasi-judicial agencies, like the labor department, which have acquired expertise in matters entrusted to their jurisdiction are accorded by the Supreme Court not only respect but finality if supported by substantial evidence.

In recruitment and placement, who is a non licensee or non holder of authority?

A non-licensee or non-holder of authority means any person, corporation or entity which has not been issued a valid license or authority to engage in recruitment and placement by the Secretary of Labor, or whose license or authority to engage in recruitment and placement by the Secretary of Labor, or whose license or authority has been suspended, revoked or cancelled by the POEA, or the Secretary.

What elements consitute abandonment of work?

To constitute abandonment, two elements must concur: (1) the failure to report for work or absence without valid or justifiable reason, and (2) a clear intention to sever the employer-employee relationship.  If the employee’s aim is to secure the benefits due them from their employer, abandonment would surely be an illogical and impractical recourse, especially for simple laborers.

Is mere absence from work considered as abandonment?

For abandonment to arise, there must be concurrence of two things: (1) lack of intention to work; and (2) the presence of overt acts signifying the employee’s intention not to work.  While absence from work for a prolonged period may suggest abandonment in certain instances, mere absence of one or two days would not be enough to sustain such a claim.

How is an employee dismissed based on loss of trust and confidence?

Loss of trust and confidence to be a valid ground for an employee’s dismissal must be clearly established. A breach is willful if it is done intentionally, knowingly and purposely, without justifiable excuse, as distinguished from an act done carelessly, thoughtlessly, heedlessly or inadvertently. It must rest on substantial grounds and not on the employer’s arbitrariness, whims, caprices or suspicion, otherwise, the employee would remain at the mercy of the employer.

When are moral damages available in dismissal cases?

In dismissal cases, moral damages are recoverable only where the dismissal of the employee was attended by bad faith or constituted an act oppressive to labor or was done in a manner contrary to morals, good customs or public policy while exemplary damages may be awarded only if the dismissal was effected in a wanton, oppressive or malevolent manner.

Are managerial personnel entitled to labor law protection?

Managerial personnel and other employees occupying positions of trust and confidence are entitled to security of tenure, fair standards of employment, and the protection of labor laws. However, the rules on termination of employment, penalties for infractions, and resort to concerted action are not necessarily the same as those for ordinary employees.

What is the effect of a strike undertaken despite issuance of an assumption order by the Secretary of Labor?

A strike that is undertaken despite the issuance by the Secretary of Labor of an assumption or certification order becomes a prohibited activity and thus illegal, pursuant to the second paragraph of Art. 264 of the Labor Code as amended (Zamboanga Wood Products, Inc. v. NLRC, G.R. 82088, October 13, 1989; 178 SCRA 482). The Union officers and members, as a result, are deemed to have lost their employment status for having knowingly participated in an illegal act.

Are non-members of a union entitled to the benefits of a CBA entered into by the union and employer?

When a collective bargaining contract is entered into by the union representing the employees and the employer, even the non-member employees are entitled to the benefits of the contract. To accord its benefits only to members of the union without any valid reason would constitute undue discrimination against nonmembers. It is even conceded, that a laborer can claim benefits from a CBA entered into between the company and the union of which he is a member at the time of the conclusion of the agreement, after he has resigned from said union.

What is permanent total disability?

Permanent total disability means disablement of an employee to earn wages in the same kind of work, or work of similar nature that he was trained for or accustomed to perform, or any kind of work which a person of his mentality and attainment could do. It does not mean absolute helplessness.It has also been held that in disability compensation, it is not the injury which is compensated, but rather it is the incapacity to work resulting in the impairment of one’s earning capacity.

Is the approval of the POEA necessary for the validity of a contract for overseas employment?

Article 21(c) of the Labor Code requires that the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (formerly NSB) should approve and verify a contract for overseas employment.  A contract, which is approved by the National Seamen Board is the law between the contracting parties; and where there is nothing in it which is contrary to law, morals, good customs, public policy or public order, the validity of said contract must be sustained.

What are the essential elements of due process in cases of employee dismissal?

The twin requirements of notice and hearing constitute essential elements of due process in cases of employee dismissal: the requirement of notice is intended to inform the employee concerned of the employer’s intent to dismiss and the reason for the proposed dismissal; upon the other hand, the requirement of hearing affords the employee an opportunity to answer his employer’s charges against him accordingly to defend himself therefrom before dismissal is effected. Neither of these two requirements can be dispensed with without running afoul of the due process requirement of the 1987 Constitution.

What is the definition of wage?

“Wage” paid to any employee shall mean the remuneration or earnings, however designated, capable of being expressed in terms of money, whether fixed or ascertained on a time, task, piece, or commission basis, or other method of calculating the same, which is payable by an employer to an employee under a written or unwritten contract of employment for work done or to be done, or for services rendered or to be rendered and includes the fair and reasonable value, as determined by the Secretary of Labor, of board, lodging, or other facilities customarily formatted by the employer to the employee.

In a certification election, does a med-arbiter have the power to determine who the eligible voters are?

Under Article 256 of the Labor Code, to have a valid certification election at least a majority of all eligible voters in the unit must have cast their votes. It is apparent that incidental to the power of the med-arbiter to hear and decide representation cases is the power to determine who the eligible voters are. In so doing, it is axiomatic that the med-arbiter should determine the legality of the employees’ membership in the union.

What are the two methods used in the adjustment of minimum wage?

Historically, legislation involving the adjustment of the minimum wage made use of two methods. The first method involves the fixing of determinate amount that would be added to the prevailing statutory minimum wage. The other involves “the salary-ceiling-method” whereby the wage adjustment is applied to employees receiving a certain denominated salary ceiling.

When is the taking of private property under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law an exercise of police power and when is it an exercise of eminent domain?

The issue of the constitutionality of the taking of private property under the CARP Law has already been settled by the Supreme Court holding that where the measures under challenge merely prescribe the retention limits for landowners, there is an exercise of police power by the government, but where to carry out such regulation, it becomes necessary to deprive such owners of whatever lands they may own in excess of the maximum area allowed, then there is definitely a taking under the power of eminent domain for which payment of just compensation is imperative. To be sure, the determination of just compensation is a function addressed to the courts of justice and may not be usurped by any branch or official of the government.

What is the essence of “minimum wage”?

“Minimum wages” underlies the effort of the State, as Republic Act No. 6727 expresses it, “to promote productivity-improvement and gain-sharing measures to ensure a decent standard of living for the workers and their families; to guarantee the rights of labor to its just share in the fruits of production; to enhance employment generation in the countryside through industry dispersal; and to allow business and industry reasonable returns on investment, expansion and growth,”  and as the Constitution expresses it, to affirm “labor as a primary social economic force.

Does a certificate of land title granted under P.D. 27 vest ownership to the farmer/grantee?

The mere issuance of the certificate of land transfer does not vest in the farmer/grantee ownership of the land described therein. At most, the certificate merely evidences the government’s recognition of the grantee as the party qualified to avail of the statutory mechanisms for the acquisition of ownership of the land titled by him as provided under Presidential Decree No. 27. Neither is this recognition permanent nor irrevocable. Thus, failure on the part of the farmer/grantee to comply with his obligation to pay his lease rentals or amortization payments when they fall due for a period of two (2) years to the landowner or agricultural lessor is a ground for forfeiture of his certificate of land transfer.

Can a person be denied Service Incentive Leave and thirteenth month pay?

The award of Service Incentive Leave pay is a statutory benefit which cannot be denied to employees (See Article 95, Labor Code), the same is true with respect to the 13th month pay since P.D. 851 states that “all employers are required to pay all their employees receiving a basic salary of not more than P1,000.00 a month, regardless of the nature of their employment, a 13th month pay not later than December 24 of every year.

Are articles 263 and 264 of the Labor Code still valid and operational?

Yes. No law has ever been passed by Congress expressly repealing Articles 263 and 264 of the Labor Code. Neither may the 1987 Constitution be considered to have impliedly repealed the said Articles considering that there is no showing that said articles are inconsistent with the said Constitution. Moreover, no court has ever declared that the said articles are inconsistent with the 1987 Constitution. On the contrary, the continued validity and operation of Articles 263 and 264 of the Labor Code has been recognized by no less than the Congress of the Philippines when the latter enacted into law R.A. 6715, otherwise known as Herrera Law, Section 27 of which amended paragraphs (g) and (i) of Article 263 of the Labor Code.

Do Articles 263 (g) and 264 of the Labor Code have any constitutional foundation?

It must be noted that Articles 263 (g) and 264 of the Labor Code have been enacted pursuant to the police power of the State, which has been defined as the power inherent in a Government to enact laws, within constitutional limits, to promote the order, safety, health, morals and general welfare of society (People vs. Vera Reyes, 67 Phil. 190). The police power, together with the power of eminent domain and the power of taxation, is an inherent power of government and does not need to be expressly conferred by the Constitution. Thus, it is submitted that the argument  that Articles 263 (g) and 264 of the Labor Code do not have any constitutional foundation is legally inconsequential.

What is the nature of assumption and certification orders of the Secretary of Labor?

The underlying principle embodied in Art. 264(g) on the settlement of labor disputes is that assumption and certification orders are executory in character and are to be strictly complied with by the parties even during the pendency of any petition questioning their validity. This extraordinary authority given to the Secretary of Labor is aimed at arriving at a peaceful and speedy solution to labor disputes, without jeopardizing national interests.

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