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DOLE chief Laguesma objects to cutting incentives for firms refusing on-site work order

Labor Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma on Wednesday opposed reducing the incentives of companies that refuse to comply with the order to return to on-site work.

At the Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum, Laguesma said many employers already made investments for work-from-home arrangements to ensure the safety of their employees amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Huwag natin lang i-limit ang usapin doon sa medyo babawasan mo ang kanilang insentibo 'pag 'di nila ginawa 'yan,” Laguesma said.

(Let us not limit the discussion to cutting their incentives if they do not comply [with the return to work order.])

In March, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) directed information technology-business process outsourcing (IT-BPO) firms in special economic zones to follow the government’s order to return to on-site work.

PEZA said if firms do not comply, they will face penalties which include revocation or suspension of incentives or closure of registered business enterprises.

With on-site work, the entire establishment with at least one case of COVID-19 infection would be locked down, affecting the firm’s entire operation, Laguesma said.

The Labor secretary said he spoke with the leaders of the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Finance about the matter.

For him, the guidelines on work-from-home arrangement should be made clearer including specifying tasks qualified for this arrangement.


Meanwhile, Laguesma expressed openness to the creation of a law against “endo” or “end of contract”, a practice where companies hire workers for less than six months to avoid their regularization as mandated by the Labor Code.

He said the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) will also review its own issuances related to endo.

Wage hike

Asked about the possibility of another wage hike amid the high prices of fuel and basic commodities, Laguesma said that adjustments in minimum wages should only be done once in a while.

He added that there should be a “supervening event” to justify another wage increase.

The DOLE earlier said the minimum wage increase orders approved by the 16 regional wage boards across the country took effect in June. —KG, GMA News