The four main sources of labor laws are:
- Codes and Statutes
- Judicial decisions
- Rules and regulations issued by administrative agencies
- International laws and conventions
Code and Statutes
In the Philippines, the primary source of labor laws is Presidential Decree No. 442, otherwise known as the Labor Code of the Philippines.
The Labor Code was enacted on May 1, 1974, Labor Day, by Ferdinand Marcos exercising legislative power. It took effect six months later on November 1, 1974. Since its enactment, the Labor Code has undergone several amendments. The most notable amendment was brought about by Republic Act No. 6715, also known as the Herrera-Veloso Law, which took effect on March 21, 1989.
The Labor Code is divided into six books, covering aspects of employment from the pre-hiring to termination, conditions of employment, security of tenure, provisions governing labor relations, such as those involving the constitutional right of workers to self-organization, collective bargaining and peaceful concerted activities, as well as provisions dealing with social welfare benefits.
The six books composing the Labor Code are as follows:
- Book I – Pre-Employment
- Book II – Human Resources Development
- Book III – Conditions of Employment
- Book IV – Health, Safety, and Social Welfare Benefits
- Book V – Labor Relations
- Book VI – Post-Employment
Aside from the Labor Code of the Philippines, there are many other statutes and laws that affects labor, such as:
- 13th Month Pay Law
- Retirement Pay Law (Republic Act No. 7641)
- Paternity Leave Act of 1996 (Republic Act No. 8187)
- Magna Carta for Disabled Persons (Republic Act. No. 7277)
- Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995 (Republic Act. No. 7877)
Judicial decisions interpreting labor laws are also, in that sense, sources of labor laws. In accordance with Article 8, Civil Code: “Judicial decisions applying or interpreting the laws or the Constitution shall form part of the legal system of the Philippines.”
This is not to say, though, that courts can promulgate laws. Courts cannot promulgate laws, they simply interpret or construe the law.
Jurisprudence, in our system of government, cannot be considered as an independent source of law; it cannot create law. While it is true that judicial decisions which apply or interpret the Constitution or the laws are part of the legal system of the Philippines, still they are not laws. Judicial decisions, though not laws, are nonetheless evidence of what the laws mean, and it is for this reason that they are part of the legal system of the Philippines. Judicial decisions of the Supreme Court assume the same authority as the statute itself.
Rules and regulations issued by administrative agencies
Rules and regulations issued by administrative agencies are also deemed sources of labor laws insofar as they supplement provisions of the law or provide means for carrying them out or give information relating thereto.
When an administrative agency promulgates rules and regulations, it “makes” a new law with the force and effect of a valid law. Rules and regulations when promulgated in pursuance of the procedure or authority conferred upon the administrative agency by law, partake of the nature of a statute. This is so because statutes are usually couched in general terms, after expressing the policy, purposes, objectives, remedies and sanctions intended by the legislature. The details and the manner of carrying out the law are often times left to the administrative agency entrusted with its enforcement. In this sense, it has been said that rules and regulations are the product of a delegated power to create new or additional legal provisions that have the effect of law.
The leading agency charged with implementation and enforcement of labor laws in the Philippines is the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
Other agencies are:
- Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration (OWWA)
- Philippine Overseas Employment Agencies (POEA)
- National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB)
- National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC)
- National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC)
- Employees Compensation Commission (ECC)
- Technical Educations and Skills Related Authority (TESDA)
International laws and conventions
International laws and conventions are also considered sources of laws in the Philippines under the doctrine of incorporation. This is pursuant to Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution which provides that the Philippines adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land.
One of the international agencies that is actively involved in crafting and adoption of international conventions and recommendations dealing with labor issues is the International Labor Organization (ILO).
ILO is a specialized agency of the United Nations. Its headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland.
- Columbia Pictures, et al. vs. Court of Appeals, et al., G.R. No. 110318, August 28, 1996.
- Victoria’s Milling Co., Inc. vs. Social Security Commission, 114 Phil. 555 (1962), as cited in Freedom from Debt Coalition v. Energy Regulatory Commission, G.R. No. 161113, 15 June 2004.
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intern…. Retrieved on July 30, 2009.
Last Edited: Sunday, March 20, 2011