Jinggoy bats for better working conditions for informal sector workers, freelancers, WFH employees

For the coming 19th Congress, Senator Jinggoy Estrada has set his sights on providing for better working conditions in the country for informal sector workers, freelancers and those engaged in work-from-home schemes.

“Hindi natin makakaila na kasabay ng mga pagbabago sa ating pamumuhay ng dahil sa pandemya ay ang mga pamamaraan ng ating hanapbuhay at ang patuloy na paglago ng mga manggagawa sa informal sector at iba pa na hindi nakahanay sa mga regular na namamasukan sa mga opisina,” Estrada said.

“May mga karampatang benepisyo at labor standards na dapat ding umiiral para maprotektahan ang kanilang kapakanan,” the incoming Chairperson of the Senate Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development Committee said in explaining the prioritization in the filing of his Senate Bills Nos. 42, 44, and 45.

In fulfilling the constitutional mandate of social justice and human rights for the poor, Estrada proposed the enactment of SB No. 42 or the Magna Carta for Workers in the Informal Sector. It seeks to prescribe their rights and benefits for workers, establish labor standards and provision of social insurance programs from Social Security System (SSS), Pag-Ibig and Philhealth.

Estrada likewise included provisions ensuring security in the workplace of informal sector workers to address issues concerning eviction, demolition, confiscation of materials and impounding of vehicles among many others.

Under SB No. 45 or the proposed Freelancers Protection Act provides the labor bill of rights for freelancers – right to a written contract or agreement, right to just compensation, right to self-organization, right to be free from any form of discrimination, and abuse – as it establishes standards to be implemented by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

For those under a flexible working arrangement or telecommuting, Estrada laid down in his SB No. 44 his proposed modifications to existing normal hours of work, including shortened meal breaks, and overtime work.

Also included in Estrada’s list of filed priority bills are the proposed condonation of penalties for unpaid Social Security System (SSS) contributions of household employers, Seafarers Bill of Rights, amendment to the composition of the National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC), a 20% discount on fees and charges for indigent job applicants, fixed monthly salary for bus drivers and conductors, establishment of the National Manpower Data and Placement Center as well as the creation of the National Employment Assistance Center of the Philippines.