DOLE makes headway on con-med settlements

THE Single Entry Approach (SEnA) is an administrative approach which provides a speedy, impartial, inexpensive and accessible settlement procedure for all issues or complaints arising from employer-employee relations to prevent them from ripening into full blown disputes. Under this approach, all labor and employment issues shall undergo a 30-day mandatory conciliation-mediation process to effect settlement among the contending parties.

Such issues may include termination or suspension of employment, money claims for unpaid salaries, wages or benefits, occupational safety and health standard issues, certain intra-union and inter-union issues, and any other claims arising from employer-employee relationship, among others.

Requests or referral for assistance under SEnA usually increases during the last quarter of the year towards the first quarter of the following year. This pose as a challenge to DOLE field offices considering the year-end targets and deliverables that need to be met.

Despite the challenge of implementing the approach, DOLE Negros Occidental Field Office (NOFO) is making headways on settlement of labor issues and complaints through conciliation-mediation mechanisms. It has prepared to meet the challenge head-on by capacitating more SEnA Desk Officers (SEADOs). Through its mentorship program between new and experienced SEADOs as well as a strengthened Public Assistance Desk, the Office has efficiently handled Referrals for Assistance (RFAs) that it received.

This proactive strategy of DOLE NOFO has resulted in the substantial increase of the Office’s SEnA settlements from October 2018 to January 2019.  For 2018, its settled RFAs has reached 82.5% with a total settlement amount of Php 3,483,781.17, benefitting 347 workers. It has also disposed 100% of the RFAs it received.

In addition, the Office ended January 2019 with a total 17 RFAs, of which 100% were disposed, recording a settlement rate of 88% that benefited 45 workers.  The total settlement amount reached Php 375,858.92.

“We will always be committed in advancing healthy immediate interventions to effect amicable settlement between differing employers and employees due to labor disputes,” said DOLE-NOFO head Mary Agnes N. Capigon.

Capigon added that the DOLE will always be guided by the wisdom of our labor laws and the heart for public service in ensuring that it will always work for fair, reasonable and win-win settlement agreements between employers and employees.