THE Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is looking to extend beyond six months the period of temporary displacement for employees in order to avert a possible mass permanent retrenchment.
Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III said they initiated the study based on the appeal of the employers’ groups.
“Employers appealed if we can extend the period because they said their business is not yet good and they are still not in a position to rehire them,” Bello said during a Senate budget hearing last week.
Labor Undersecretary Benjo Benavidez explained the six-month temporary displacement scheme is based on existing jurisprudence.
Many of the companies had implemented temporary displacement schemes last March to cope with the large-scale community quarantine of the government to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
Bello said he is “inclined” to accept the request since Covid-affected companies may just opt to retrench their workers if they will not be allowed to extend the temporary displacement.
“I am interested in maintaining the employment status of our workers,” Bello said. However, he noted the extension may be just three months, which he said may be “more acceptable” to affected workers rather than another six months.
The labor chief said they might come out with the new policy on the matter this week.
As of September 14, 2020, DOLE registered over 2 million workers who were affected by the temporary closure of establishments since January.