Interpretation of Labor Laws
Labor laws are generally construed liberally in favor of labor. The Labor Code of the Philippines states: “All doubts in the implementation and interpretation of the provisions of the Labor Code, including its implementing rules and regulations, shall be resolved in favor of labor.” Similar provision can be found in the New Civil Code,
However, the above provisions do not mean that courts has to blindly rule in favor of labor. Capital and management are entitled to no less protection under the law. The law, while protecting the rights of the employees, authorizes neither the oppression nor destruction of the employer. When the law angles the scale of justice in favor of labor, the scale should never be so tilted if the result is an injustice to the employer.
Interpretation of Labor Contract
Labor contracts are not ordinary contract. The relation between capital and labor are not merely contractual in that the parties do not have complete freedom as to the terms of their relationship. For example, an employee cannot agree to a wage below the minimum wage set by law, or to waive his right to overtime pay for overtime work rendered. This agreement or waiver, even if voluntarily entered into by the parties, is void for being contrary to public policy. Labor contracts are so impressed with public interest that labor contracts must yield to the common good. Hence, labor contracts must yield to laws on CBA, strikes and lockouts, etc.
In the interpretation of labor contracts, the rule is, all doubts in the construction of labor contracts should be resolved in favor of the working class. This is in accordance with Article 1702 of the NCC, which directs that in case of doubt, all labor legislation and all labor contracts shall be construed in favor of the safety and decent living for the laborer.
- Article 4, Labor Code of the Philippines.
- Art. 1701, New Civil Code (NCC).
- St. Theresa’s School Of Novaliches Foundation, et al. vs. NLRC, et al., G.R. No. 122955, April 15, 1998.
- See Art. 1700, NCC.
Last Edited: Sunday, May 29, 2011