24-month probationary employment bill revived in House

A bill that seeks to extend the maximum period of probationary employment up to 24 months is being pushed in Congress, in an effort to provide aid to the economy amid the health crisis.

Probinsyano Ako Party-list Rep. Jose “Bonito” C. Singson, Jr. has renewed calls for the passage of House Bill (HB) 4802, which will amend Article 296 of Presidential Decree 442 or the “Labor Code of the Philippines.”

He appealed to Speaker Lord Allan Velasco to include the bill in the legislative priorities of the House of Representatives, stressing that it would benefit labor and management workers affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

Singson also urged the Committee on Labor to set the measure for panel deliberations — as an alternative option that will resolve the “endo” (end of contract) issue in the country.

“I think now is the time to put HB 4802 for deliberation and consider its advantages not only under the Covid-19 conditions, [but also] when normalcy returns,” said the lawmaker.

Singson, who is chairman of the Committee on Public Accounts, underscored that the legislative proposal will help employers better evaluate the skills of their workers, and buy them time “to recover and rebuild their businesses without worrying about [regularization] in the meantime.”

“[This] will [also] keep workers employed at a much longer time during and after the pandemic, aside from getting a better chance [at] regular employment,” he added.

Under HB 4802, a 24-month probationary period will be granted to employees, instead of the current six-month setup.

Singson noted that workers who face termination after probation spend at least a month looking for a job, according to surveys.