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The Institute of Labor Studies (ILS) research titled “Gap Analysis of ILO Convention No. 81 (Labour Inspection),” authored by ILS researcher Joyce Anne S. Lumactud, has recommended addressing gaps in the country’s existing labor inspection system in order to fulfill the requirements under the International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention No. 81 on Labor Inspection, known as the international standard for labor inspection in industrial and commercial establishments.

Labor inspection in the Philippines is governed by the Labor Code, as amended, and provides the Secretary of Labor and Employment and authorized representatives with visitorial and enforcement powers to access the premises and records of an establishment to ensure its compliance with labor laws and related issuances. However, the Philippines has not yet ratified ILO Convention No. 81, and instead observes compliance with general labor standards (GLS) and occupational safety and health standards (OSH) that are monitored using the Labor Laws Compliance System (LLCS). Using a gap analysis, the research assessed the extent to which the national laws, regulations and implementation practices are consistent with the said Convention.

Based on literature reviews and consultation with stakeholders, the existing laws and policies, while sufficient in principle for the Philippines to ratify the convention, have provisions that need improvement for the sustainable and efficient implementation of LLCS.

Implemented in August 2013, the LLCS monitors all establishments in all industries nationwide with the following objectives: (1) to inculcate a culture of compliance with labor laws and other social legislations; (2) ensure fair, expeditious, and non-litigious settlement of disputes; (3) encourage the settlement of all labor cases; and (4) strengthen tripartism among employees, employers, and the government. Compliant establishments are issued a Certificate of Compliance (COC) for GLS and OSH. The certificates are valid for two (2) years and companies will not be subjected for assessment during that period. Furthermore, these companies are given priority access to DOLE programs and services and the rights to post a marker of recognition on their premises.

The implementers of the LLCS are the Labor Laws Compliance Officers (LLCOs) while the monitoring of compliance is done through the LLCS-MIS lodged at the Bureau of Working Conditions (BWC) of the DOLE.

On coverage, child labor indicators are found to be not sufficient to determine the presence of child labor in establishments. Furthermore, OSH indicators are found to be not applicable to all industries.

Another gap found is that there is no standard in determining the number of LLCOs to make assessments. Similarly, there is no existing provision on the publication of an annual report of the said assessments. The research also cited the need to clarify and focus the functions of the LLCO on labor inspection so as not to hinder efficiency in assessment, alongside the provision of adequate resources for the LLCOs in the performance of their tasks.

The research recommended stricter penalties to be imposed to non-compliant companies after exhausting all possible means of assistance.

The Institute for Labor Studies (ILS) is the policy research and advocacy arm of the Department of Labor and Employment. For more information on this story, please contact the Advocacy and Publications Division at 527-3490.