Section 10

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Coercive, unfair or deceptive recruitment Economic sanctions Group or joint liability

Section 10 institutes joint and several liability of the employer/principal and the recruitment agency for any monetary claims arising out of an employment relationship or by virtue of any law or contract involving Filipino workers for overseas deployment, including claims for damages. This provision stipulates that in case of termination of overseas employment without just cause, or if any unauthorized deductions are made from the migrant worker’s salary, the worker shall be entitled to the full reimbursement of the placement fee, and the deductions made with a 12% annual interest, plus the remaining salaries for the unexpired portion of the employment contract.

Notes

Holding recruitment agencies jointly liable for the actions of employers has the potential to improve accountability for recruiter actions. This provision aims to provide an additional avenue for obtaining reddress for overseas Filipino workers. In most cases, the foreign employer will have no assets in the Philippines, and therefore, the enforcement of any judgment against the employer will be virtually impossible. This joint liability provision is premised on the assumption that there is no viable mechanism to enforce the migrant worker’s claim against the foreign employer/principal, hence the resorting claim against the local recruitment agency. In practice, however, a number of barriers prevent migrant workers from making succesful claims. The process of pursuing such a case can be costly and time consuming. In addition, given the transnational nature of the crime, it is often difficult for workers to provide sufficient evidence to corroborate their claims.

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Section 10. Money Claims.

Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, the Labor Arbiters of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) shall have the original and exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide, within ninety (90) calendar days after the filing of the complaint, the claims arising out of an employer-employee relationship or by virtue of any law or contract involving Filipino workers for overseas deployment including claims for actual, moral, exemplary and other forms of damage. Consistent with this mandate, the NLRC shall endeavor to update and keep abreast with the developments in the global services industry.

The liability of the principal/employer and the recruitment/placement agency for any and all claims under this section shall be joint and several.

This provision shall be incorporated in the contract for overseas employment and shall be a condition precedent for its approval. The performance bond to de filed by the recruitment/placement agency, as provided by law, shall be answerable for all money claims or damages that may be awarded to the workers. If the recruitment/placement agency is a juridical being, the corporate officers and directors and partners as the case may be, shall themselves be jointly and solidarily liable with the corporation or partnership for the aforesaid claims and damages.

Such liabilities shall continue during the entire period or duration of the employment contract and shall not be affected by any substitution, amendment or modification made locally or in a foreign country of the said contract.
Any compromise/amicable settlement or voluntary agreement on money claims inclusive of damages under this section shall be paid within thirty (30) days from approval of the settlement by the appropriate authority.

In case of termination of overseas employment without just, valid or authorized cause as defined by law or contract, or any unauthorized deductions from the migrant worker’s salary, the worker shall be entitled to the full reimbursement if his placement fee and the deductions made with interest at twelve percent (12%) per annum, plus his salaries for the unexpired portion of his employment contract or for three (3) months for every year of the unexpired term, whichever is less.
In case of a final and executory judgement against a foreign employer/principal, it shall be automatically disqualified, without further proceedings, from participating in the Philippine Overseas Employment Program and from recruiting and hiring Filipino workers until and unless it fully satisfies the judgement award.

Noncompliance with the mandatory periods for resolutions of case provided under this section shall subject the responsible officials to any or all of the following penalties:

(a) The salary of any such official who fails to render his decision or resolution within the prescribed period shall be, or caused to be, withheld until the said official complies therewith;

(b) Suspension for not more than ninety (90) days; or

(c) Dismissal from the service with disqualification to hold any appointive public office for five (5) years. Provided, however, That the penalties herein provided shall be without prejudice to any liability which any such official may have incured under other existing laws or rules and regulations as a consequence of violating the provisions of this paragraph.

Law / Philippines / Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995 (as Amended by Republic Act No. 10022)

This Act provides comprehensive measures for the increased protection of Filipino migrant workers. “Migrant worker” (as defined by Section 3 (a)) refers to a person who is to be engaged, is engaged or has been engaged in a remunerated activity in a state of which he or she is not a legal resident (the term is used interchangeably with overseas Filipino worker (OFW)).

The Act was enacted primarily to address fraudulent recruitment practices. Part II defines and sets forth penalties for the illegal recruitment of Filipinos for work overseas, and stipulates severe penalties of imprisonment and fines. The Act also institutes joint and several liability of the principal/employer and the recruitment agency for any monetary claims arising out of an employment relationship or by virtue of any law or contract involving Filipino workers for overseas deployment, including claims for damages.

The Act seeks to protect migrant workers by providing that OFWs shall only be deployed to countries where their rights are sufficiently protected. The act also introduces a process of terminating or banning deployment of Filipinos to countries that do not have an adequate standard protecting the human, labor, and social rights of migrant workers.

This Act also ensures free access to justice and legal assistance for OFWs, and sets the role of government agencies in promoting the welfare and rights of migrant workers.