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Laid-off workers can apply for unemployment insurance — DOLE

A certification from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is the basic requirement for involuntarily laid-off employees who wish to apply for unemployment insurance, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said.

In Department Circular No. 01, series of 2019 issued by Bello last week, the issuance of the certificate is included in the guidelines for the laid-off workers to avail of the involuntary separation benefit of the Social Security System (SSS).

In a statement, Bello said the issuance of the guidelines to implement the program which covers eligible SSS-member employees, including kasambahay and overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), who were involuntarily separated from work.

The certification must be secured from the DOLE field or provincial office where applicants reside or from where their company is located.

For OFWs, they can file their application at the Philippine Overseas Labor Office located in the areas where their employers operate or at their residences nearest DOLE field or provincial office.

Those who would like to avail of the unemployment benefit are also required to bring a valid identification card, a copy of the notice of termination issued by the employer, or if not available a duly notarized affidavit of termination of employment.

To qualify for the grant, the employee should not be over 60 years old at the time of involuntary separation; has paid at least 36 monthly contributions, 12 of which should be in the 18-month period immediately preceding the month of involuntary separation.

The applicant has no settled unemployment benefit within the last three years prior to the date of involuntary separation.

The workers must have been involuntarily separated due to “authorized causes,” such as the installation of labor-saving devices; redundancy; retrenchment or downsizing; closure or cessation of operation; or disease/illness of the employee whose continued employment is prohibited by law or is prejudicial to his or her co-employees’ health.

Other individuals that are eligible to file are those who lost jobs due to “just causes” under Article 300 (285) of P.D. No. 442 or the Labor Code of the Philippines; or due to an economic downturn, natural or human-induced calamities/disasters, and other similar cases as may be determined by the DOLE and SSS. (Ferdinand Patinio, PNA)

Pinoy workers be aware:  DOLE says ‘companies must shoulder uniform costs’

The government continues to warn Filipinos who work in private firms to be apprehensive of the rights they have amid reports against illegal collection of cash bonds.

Forcing employees to pay for their uniforms is unauthorized, the Department of Labor and Employment stressed in its labor advisory No. 11 series of 2014.

The said labor advisory reads that “deductions made from the employees’ wages for company uniforms, cash deposits for loss or damage, personal protective equipment (PPE), capital share or capital build-up in service cooperatives, training fees, and other deductions not included in this advisory are unauthorized.”

Despite this order, a lot of private firms remain deaf and choose to pass to their workers the cost of buying company uniforms. This is evident given the rising complaints, the agency said.

Labor Undersecretary Joel Maglunsod said earlier last year that his office “has been receiving complaints from maintenance workers because cash bonds were being unlawfully deducted from their wages without their consent or proper documentation.”

“This is clearly a violation of the law,” he stressed.

Maglunsod further said that Filipinos should be knowledgeable in the form of written documents before their employees deduct any amount of cash bonds from their wages.

He also urged them to report abusive employees so as the agency could act and end the unlawful activities of these companies.

“We will protect the workers. This is the role of DOLE. We will help them and talk to the management to return the collected cash bond. Workers should not be afraid of reporting these unlawful acts because
these are your rights,” he said.

Filipino workers who have complaints or concerns should call the DOLE hotline 1349; visit the nearest DOLE office; or personally coordinate with his office to immediately address their problems, Maglunsod said.

DOLE eyes mobile alert app for OFWs

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is aiming to have web-based alert system targeted for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

The agecy said OFWs can download the app in their smartphones which they can use to alert authorities.

“We will be coming out with a web-based alert system, which OFWs can easily download. With just one push of the alert button, help will immediately come to them,” DOLE Undersecretary Ciriaco Lagunzad said in a press briefing on February 21.

He added OFWs in Kuwait may the first ones to use this app.

Lagunzad with senior government officials were set to fly to Kuwait on the next day to check the situation of Filipino workers there and to recommend actions to deal with their situations.

“Kami po ay pupunta sa Kuwait, Saudi Arabia at Qatar bukas upang siguraduhin na ang ating mga OFW ay may spat na proteksyon,” he said.

“Pupunta kami doon para alamin kung ano kalagayan nila at ipatupad utos Presidente,” added Lagunzad.

Moreover, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) also vowed to cooperate to help OFWs.

“We will provide thru our ASSIST WELL centers…once again DOLE agencies will provide assistance in terms of welfare, employment, livelihood and legal assistance,”OWWA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac said.