Philippines bats for better work conditions for guards

Philippines security guards could expect better working conditions this year following the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) release of a new issuance requiring private security agencies (PSA) and their principals to provide the mandatory employment benefits.
Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III issued, on December 27, Labor Advisory (LA) 15, Series of 2019, which aims to improve the compliance of PSAs and their principals with government requirements for their operations.

“This labor advisory is hereby issued to ensure compliance with mandatory employment benefits for security guards, and other private security personnel in the private security industry,” said Bello. The two-page advisory made several clarifications on the provision of the Department Order (DO) 150, Series of 2016, governing the employment and working conditions of security guards, and other private security personnel.

It reminded labor inspectors to ensure that the service agreement (SA) between the principal and the PSA will stipulate that the administrative fee for security services should not be less than 20 percent of the total contract cost. “Any stipulation to the contrary shall be deemed a violation of Section 4 [b] of DOLE DO 150, Series 2016,” said Bello.

LA 15 also said the wage provisions of the SA should be automatically adjusted appropriately, whenever a new wage order is issued by the regional wage boards. It indicated that the wage adjustment is “primarily borne by the principal.” Bello also said PSAs are not required to submit proof of actual remittance of employers’ share and employees’ contributions to the Social Security System, Employees’ Compensation Commission, Philippine Health Insurance Corp. and Home Development Mutual Fund as a precondition for the payment of contract cost. However, he said the principals are not precluded from verifying the compliance of PSAs with the remittance of their share and employees’ contributions.

The labor chief also said that while there is no prescribed schedule of payment of contract cost by principal to PSAs, it should be done within a time frame, which will not affect the payment of wages and wage-related benefits of security guards, and private security personnel. In case there is a delay or underpayment of the said benefits to these workers, the PSA and its corresponding principal will be made to go through conciliation-mediation through DOLE’s Single Entry Approach program due to the principle of joint and several liability.