The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is set to conduct labor inspections on various economic zones, security agencies and television networks in the country to ensure their compliance with general labor standards and occupational safety and health.

In Administrative Order No. 350, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III ordered the formation of a Special Inspection Team composed of 34 newly-appointed Labor Inspection Auditors (LIAs) to conduct inspection in the priority sectors.

The LIAs will be directly under the supervision of Undersecretary Joel Maglunsod and OIC-Assistant Secretary Benjo Santos Benavidez.

They will be assisted by the Labor Inspection Audit Monitoring Team composed of representatives from the Bureau of Working Conditions (BWC), Bureau of Labor Relations (BLR), Financial and Management Service (FMS), Human Resource Development Service (HRDS), Planning Service (PS) , and Internal Audit Service (IAS).

DOLE-CAR OIC Regional Director Exequiel Ronie A. Guzman said upon issuance of the Authority to Inspect, the LIAs will conduct inspection of the Economic Zones, Security Agencies and the country’s television networks with regional or provincial branches included.

“Aside from the main companies, their contractors, subsidiaries, and affiliates, including field, city, municipal and provincial offices and branches will also undergo scrutiny and thorough inspection by the LIAs.” Guzman added.

Consistent with the efforts of the Duterte administration to stop endo and promote regulation after DOLE issued Department Order No. 183, Series of 2017, known as the Revised Rules on the Administration and Enforcement of Labor Laws Pursuant to Article 128 of the Labor Code, as Renumbered (DO 183). The DO superseded Department Order No. 131-B and with stricter guidelines, DO 183 aims to ensure a higher level of compliance of labor laws and standards in the workplace.

Guzman also said under DO 183, establishments may be subjected to a Routine Inspection, Complaint Inspection or Occupational Safety and Health Standards Investigation, which shall be conducted by Labor Inspectors.

For routine inspections, the DOLE prioritizes establishments engaged in hazardous work; employing children; engaged in contracting or subcontracting arrangements; employing 10 or more employees; and such other establishments or industries as may be determined by the Labor secretary as priority.

The new rules also shortened the period for establishments to correct their violations on general labor standards and contracting and subcontracting rules. DO 183 mandates that after the receipt of Notice of Results, establishments must institute their corrective actions within a non-extendible period of ten (10) days, instead of twenty (20) days as provided under the previous DO.

Another amendment found under DO 183 is the Complaint Inspection. It differs from the former Compliance Visit since the new rules limit the conduct of a Complaint Inspection to instances where there is a Single Entry Approach (SEnA) referral, or a request in conciliation-meditation proceedings at the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB) to validate or verify violation of labor standards. If anonymous complaints are received, DO 183 also allows surprise visits to be conducted to validate the reported violation of labor laws.

The inspection teams will verify company compliance with the provisions on the workers minimum benefits such as observance of proper payment of wages, holiday, and night differential pay, service incentive leave, 13th month pay, and other leave incentives for women which are provided for under the law. The said companies should also observe existing labor laws on proper remittance of social benefits such as contributions for SSS, Pag-Ibig, and Philhealth./ Patrick Rillorta.