Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz on September 7, 2015 issued Rules clarifying the application of just and authorized causes of termination of employment under Articles 297-299 of the Labor Code, as amended, through Department Order No. 147-15, Series of 2015, entitled “Amending the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Book VI of the Labor Code of the Philippines, as Amended”.
D.O. 147-15 expressly provides for the specific standards in applying the just and authorized causes and specifically outlines the due process of termination of employment.
Just causes of termination refer to serious misconduct, willful disobedience or insubordination, gross and habitual neglect of duties, fraud or wilful breach of trust, loss of confidence, commission of a crime or offense, and analogous causes. The Rules expressly provides that for acts or omissions to be considered as analogous causes, the same must be expressly specified in company rules and regulations or policies.
Authorized causes of termination refer to installation of labor-saving devices, redundancy, retrenchment or downsizing, closure or cessation of operation, and disease.
The Rules clarifies that an employee may also be terminated from employment based on reasonable and lawful grounds specified in company policies and/or based on grounds provided for under Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs).
Further, all issues of termination based on just and authorized causes will be subject to mandatory conciliation-mediation and Request for Assistance before the Single Entry Approach Desk Officers (SEADOs) at the regional, provincial, or field offices of DOLE and its attached agencies.
The Rules is applicable to workers and employers of all work arrangements, including legitimate contracting/subcontracting, with existing employer-employee relationship.
The Rules was issued to address the problem on varying interpretations and applications of the law on termination of employment which sometimes lead to labor complaints. It is issued consistent with the objective of the Philippine Labor and Employment Plan towards strengthening compliance with constitutionally protected rights of workers including the right to security of tenure.
“While the tripartite partners are exploring areas of consensus on the amendment to the law on security of tenure, in the meantime we issued this Rules for the workers and employers to be guided as to how the law on termination of employment can be properly and uniformly implemented in relation to the exercise of workers’ right to security of tenure,” Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz said.
Series of tripartite consultations were organized for the drafting of D.O. 147-15. It was initially tabled for discussion in a small tripartite Technical Working Group (TWG) meetings represented by labor and employer. Series of TIPC-Tripartite Executive Committee (TEC) meetings were also convened for the discussion of the issuance. On May 21, 2015, the National Tripartite Industrial Peace Council (TIPC), the national policy consultative body on labor and employment, approved and endorsed the Rules in the form of a Department Order for issuance by the Labor and Employment Secretary.
D.O. 147-15 takes effect fifteen (15) days after completion of its publication in at least two (2) newspapers of general circulation.