To enable the labor department to dispose of all pending labor standards cases and prepare the inspection program for 2022, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III has suspended all labor inspection activities this month.

In Administrative Order No. 269, Series of 2021, Bello directed all DOLE regional directors to temporarily cease all labor inspection activities in their respective regions starting December 1.

“However, exempted from the suspension of inspection are Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) COVID-19 Monitoring under Joint Memorandum Circular No. 20-04A of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI); complaint inspections; OSH standards investigations; technical safety inspections, such as inspection of boilers, pressure vessels, and mechanical and electrical wiring installation; and inspection of any establishment or industry as I have directed as DOLE Secretary,” said Bello.

Such activities shall be conducted in strict observance of the minimum public health standards, the Labor Secretary added.

During the period of suspension, DOLE regional directors shall ensure that all results of inspection activities are uploaded in the Management Information System (MIS) before the end of December.

In preparation for the resumption of inspection activities in 2022, all DOLE Regional Directors are also directed to submit the list of Labor Inspectors recommended for inclusion in the 2022 General Authority and Foreign National Labor Inspectors recommended for issuance of the 2022 Travel Order.

“Consistent with the minimum qualification standards, the labor inspector recommended for General Authority must be holding at least a permanent Labor and Employment Officer III plantilla position and must have attended and passed the 10-day basic training course for Labor Inspectors,” said Bello.

The labor inspector must also have a ‘very satisfactory’ performance rating for the last two rating periods and must have no pending administrative or criminal case, the labor chief added.

Personnel who have passed the Basic Training Course and have been previously issued with General Authority but were not included in the 2021 list may also be recommended for the 2022 inspection.

The conduct of routine inspections shall resume upon issuance of the 2022 General Authority for Labor Inspectors.

As of October 31, a total of 56,332 establishments were inspected by the DOLE labor inspectors.

The initial compliance rate is at 84.18 percent on general labor standards, 57.93 percent on OSHS, and 95.81 percent on minimum wage.

After the inspected establishments have implemented the necessary corrections, the compliance rate is at 90.47 percent on general labor standards and 67.01 percent on OSHS.

Among the notable violations on general labor standards pertain to record-keeping, Pag-IBIG coverage, and remittances to Pag-IBIG, PhilHealth, and SSS.

Meanwhile, common violations on OSH include the absence of the first aider, safety officer/s, fire safety inspection certificate, registration of establishment, and annual medical report.