Download the Employment & Immigration Update 2015 2-3Q

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  • Employment &

    Immigration Update

    Inside this issue

    Ease of Doing Business


    Two-Tiered Wage System

    Highly engaged employees

    Social Safety Nets

    More UK firms eye investments in PH

    Special points of interest

    Supreme Court (SC) Decisions

    Labor & Employment News

    Immigration News

    Additional Legal Resources

    SyCipLaw News

    The Philippines posted the second biggest rank improvement among member economies of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in terms of ease of doing business over the last five years, according to the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS). It made the second biggest jump next to Russia as it rose to 95th place from 144th during the 2010 to 2015 period based on the World Banks ease of doing business ranking. Also, according to the PIDS, in terms of the World Banks distance-to-frontier (DTF) index, the Philippines similarly posted the second biggest improvement next to Russia. This index measures the distance of an economy from the best performance measured for a particular criterion, and is thus considered an absolute measure of doing business that, unlike the rankings, does not depend on the performance of other countries. Among APEC member economies, Russia posted the largest increase in the DTF score from 54.8 to 66.7, followed by the Philippines which posted 54.3 to 62.1. In this connection, taking a recent instance in the Philippine setting exemplifying ease of doing business, over four out of every five companies incorporated with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) last month got their licenses within one day because of an interagency

    (Continued on page 5)

    April-September 2015 Volume XIII, Issues 2 & 3

    Ease of Doing Business


    People used to last 15 years in a single job. Now, they stay 30 months, on average. This is because today, no one is assured of his job tenure. Everything associated with job security is gone. Employees work anywhere, anytime, anyhow. The question is not even about employment anymore but employability, says LHH, a global talent mobility leader specializing in Career Transition Service (CTS), also known as Outplacement. CTS covers everything from counseling workers as soon as they are notified they are terminated to helping them break the news to their families, from helping them how to plan their lives their priorities at that point in time versus their skills, to teaching them to manage their finances, writing resumes or training for new skills or entrepreneurship. Companies who lay off employees hire LHH to help their ex-workers find other jobs. LHH also sees to it that client companies let go of people properly, with no false promises, minimizing court suits, and helping maintain the morale of the staff who remain. They have serviced over 5,000 workers laid off by a semiconductor chip-maker in an outplacement program which lasted for three years.

    (Continued on page 5)

  • Quick Quotes from Recent SC Decisions

    An employer may not blame its

    employees for losses caused by

    its own disorganized system

    and inept personnel.

    (Dominador Malabunga, Jr. v.

    Cathay Pacific Steel

    Corporation, G.R. No. 198515, 15

    June 2015).

    Under the Philippine Overseas

    Employment Administration-

    Standard Employment Contract

    (POEA-SEC), an illness suffered

    by a seafarer during the term of

    his contract is presumed to be

    work-related and compensable.

    This rule is in consonance with

    the POEAs mandate to secure

    the best terms and conditions

    of employment of Filipino

    contract workers and to

    promote and protect their well-

    being. (Dohle-Philman Manning

    Agency, Inc., et al. v. Heirs of

    Andres G. Gazzingan, etc., G.R.

    No. 199568, 17 June 2015).

    The assessment of the company

    -designated physician should

    be given more credence for

    having been arrived at after

    months of medical attendance

    and diagnosis, compared with

    the assessment of a private

    physician done in one day on

    the basis of an examination or

    existing medical records. (Ace

    Navigation Company, et al. v.

    Santos D. Garcia, G.R. No.

    207804, 17 June 2015).

    Who is the legal spouse as beneficiary of a deceased SSS member: the first wife or the second wife?

    SC Decision: G.R. No. 209741, 15 April 2015 In the case at bar, the CA explained that Edna (the second wife) had established her rights to the benefits by substantial evidence, namely, her marriage certificate and the baptismal certificates of her children. The CA ruled that Edgardo (the deceased SSS member) made a deliberate change of his wife-beneficiary in his 1994 E-4 form, manifesting his intention to revoke his former declaration in his 1982 E-4 form designating Rosemarie (the first wife) as his wife-beneficiary. On appeal, the majority of the SC Second Division reversed and set aside the CA ruling, holding that Edna (the second wife) cannot be considered as the legal spouse of Edgardo (the deceased SSS member) as their marriage took place during a previously contracted marriage, and that the non-participation of Rosemarie (the first wife) did not cure or legitimize the status of Edna. The lone dissenting opinion (by Leonen, J.) espoused the view of the CA that the latest 1994 E-4 form submitted by Edgardo (the deceased SSS member) designating Edna (the second wife) as his wife-beneficiary should supersede the earlier 1982 E-4 form designating Rosemarie (the first wife) as beneficiary, citing the comment of Arturo M. Tolentino, a recognized authority in civil law, in SSS v. Vda. De Bailon (529 Phil. 262-263), as follows:

    Where a person has entered into two successive marriages, a presumption arises in favor of the validity of the second marriage, and the burden is on the party attacking the validity of the second marriage to prove that the first marriage had not been dissolved; it is not enough to prove the first marriage, for it must also be shown that it had not ended when the second marriage was contracted. The presumption in favor of the innocence of the

    (Continued on page 6) 2

    Third-doctor-referral provision of the POEA-SEC in disability compensation cases

    SC Decision: G.R. No. 203804, 15 April 2015 The third-doctor-referral provision under the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration Standard Employment Contract (POEA-SEC) is intended to settle disability claims voluntarily at the parties level where the claims can be resolved more speedily than if they were brought to court. In the case at bar, the said provision did not find application because of the lack of a definitive disability assessment by the company-designated physician. When the respondent companies insisted that the 24 March 2009 disability rating of 8% was the final assessment of their designated physician, the petitioner seafarer submitted the contrary findings of his personal physician. In rebuttal, respondent companies presented the opinions of five more doctors. At that point in time, the parties were still before the Labor Arbiter, and the third-doctor-referral provision could have been, but was not, invoked. Since the company-designated physician failed to give a definitive impediment rating of petitioner seafarers disability beyond the extended temporary disability period, after the 120-day period but less than 240 days, by operation of law, petitioner seafarers total and temporary disability lapsed into a total and permanent disability. The SC held that petitioner seafarer was entitled to full disability compensation. As a final note to its ruling, the SC reminded shipowners, manning companies and seafarers of their respective obligations as regards the third-doctor-referral provision, as follows: (a) upon notification that the seafarer disagrees with the company doctors assessment based on the duly and fully disclosed contrary assessment from the seafarers own doctor, the seafarer shall then signify his intention to resolve the conflict by the referral of the conflicting assessments to a third doctor whose ruling, under the POEA-SEC, shall be final and binding on the parties. Upon notification, the company carries the burden of initiating the process for the referral to a third doctor commonly agreed between the parties; (b) the seafarer bears the burden of positive

    (Continued on page 5)

  • SC Decision: G.R. No. 196357, 20 April 2015 A seafarer has to prove that his injury or illness was acquired during the term of employment to support his claim for disability benefits and sickness allowance. It is a jurisprudential principle that a claim for disability benefits cannot be granted without adequate substantiation for to do so will offend due process. Thus, it must be established that the seafarer suffered or contracted his injury or illness which resulted in his disability during the term of the employment contract. The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration-Standard Employment Contract (POEA-SEC) provides that a seafarer must submit himself to a post-employment medical examination within three days from his arrival in the Philippines (mandatory reporting requirement) so that his claim for disability and sickness allowance can prosper. The only exception to this rule is when the seafarer is physically incapacitated to do so, but there must be a written notice to the agency within the same period of three days for the seafarer to be considered to have complied

    (Continued on page 6)


    Claim for disability benefits disallowed; the mandatory reporting requirement

    Quick Quotes from Re