A. Mandatory conciliation-mediation, SENA

Frequency: ★☆☆☆☆

1. 30-DAY MANDATORY CONCILIATION-MEDIATION

Pursuant to the constitutional mandate to promote the preferential use of voluntary modes of settling disputes including conciliation-mediation, all issues arising from labor and employment shall be subject to a 30-day mandatory conciliation-mediation services or the Single Entry Approach (SEnA). (Section 2, Rule I, DOLE D.O. No. 151, Series of 2016, henceforth “DO-151”)

a. Concepts

“Conciliation-Mediation” – refers to the process of facilitating a settlement of labor and employment issues. (Section 4[a], Rule I, Ibid.)

“Co-conciliate-Mediate” – refers to coordinated conciliation-mediation by two or more SEADs from different areas/offices. (Section 4[b], Rule I, Ibid.)

“Lack of Interest” – refers to non-appearance of the requesting party for two (2) consecutive scheduled conferences despite due notice. (Section 4[e], Rule I, Ibid.)

“Referral” – refers to the endorsement by the handling SEADO of unsettled issues to the DOLE office or agency that has jurisdiction over the issue using Referral Form 6. (Section 4[f], Rule I, Ibid.)

“Request for Assistance (RFA)” – refers to the request for the conduct of conciliation-mediation under SEnA to assist the parties to arrive at a settlement. (Section 4[g], Rule I, Ibid.)

“Requesting Party” – refers to any aggrieved person such as employer, worker, including kasambahay, or group of workers, whether local or overseas, or a union, workers association or federation which files a Request for Assistance or RFA. (Section 4[h], Rule I, Ibid.)

“Responding Party” – refers to any person, natural or juridical, requested to appear for conciliation-mediation under SEnA. (Section 4[i], Rule I, Ibid.)

“Single Entry Approach (SEnA)” – refers to the administrative approach to provide an accessible, speedy, impartial, and inexpensive settlement procedure of all labor and employment issues through a 30-day mandatory conciliation-mediation. (Section 4[k], Rule I, Ibid.)

“Withdrawal” – refers to the written manifestation by the requesting party to terminate the conciliation-mediation proceedings or withdraw the RFA. (Section 4[n], Rule I, Ibid.)

“30-day mandatory conciliation-mediation period” – refers to the 30 calendar days period within which to effect a settlement through mandatory conciliation-mediation services from the conduct of initial conference. (Section 4[o], Rule I, Ibid.)

2. SCOPE AND COVERAGE

General Rule: All issues arising from labor and employment shall be subject to the 30-day mandatory conciliation-mediation.
Exceptions:
1) Notices of strike/lockout or preventive mediation cases with the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB);
2) Issues arising from the interpretation or implementation of the collective bargaining agreement and those arising from interpretation or enforcement of company personnel policies which should be processed through the grievance machinery;
3) Applications for exemption from Wage Orders with the National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC);
4) Issues involving violations of:
a) Alien Employment Permit (AEP);
b) Private Employment Agency (PEA) authority or license;
c) Working Child Permit (WCP) and violations of Republic Act No.9231 (Anti-Child Labor Law);
d) Registration under Department Order No. 18-A, Series of 2011;
e) Professional license issued by the Professional Regulations Commission (PRC) and violation of Professional Code of Conduct;
f) Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) accreditations; and
g) Other similar permits, licenses or registrations issued by the DOLE or its attached agencies.
5) Violations of POEA Rules and Regulations involving:
a) Serious offenses and offenses penalized with cancellation of license;
b) Disciplinary actions against overseas workers/seafarers which are considered serious offenses or which carry the penalty of delisting from the POEA registry at first offense;
c) Complaints initiated by the POEA;
d) Complaints against an agency whose license is revoked, cancelled, expired or otherwise delisted; and
e) Complaints categorized under the POEA Rules and Regulations as not subject to SEnA.
6) Issues on occupational safety and health standards involving imminent danger situation, dangerous occurrences/disabling injury, and absence of personal protective equipment. (Section 3, DO-151)

3. SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT

“Settlement” – refers to the full and complete settlement by both parties on the issues subject of the RFA. (Section 4[j], Rule I, Ibid.)

2 types of settlement agreement:
1) Full settlement
The full payment of monetary claim and/or reinstatement in case of termination issues/constructive dismissal/illegal suspension, or complete performance of an act sought for by the requesting party. The SEADO shall attach a duly accomplished waiver and quitclaim document as proof of full compliance.
2) Partial Settlement
There is partial settlement when payment of monetary claims is by installment or in case of reinstatement/lifting of suspension or any other positive action sought for by the requesting party shall be made on a future date agreed upon.
In partial settlement, the responding party is required to make a report of compliance with the schedule of payment subject to verification by the SEADO. The RFA shall be deemed settled after payment of the last installment. (Section 2, Rule V, DOLE D.O. No. 151, Series of 2016)

Waiver and quitclaim. The waiver and quitclaim duly signed by both parties shall be issued only upon full settlement.

Effect of settlement agreement. Settlement agreement reached by the parties before the SEADO shall be final and immediately executory. It shall be binding on all DOLE offices and attached agencies except when the settlement agreement is established to be contrary to law, morals, public order and public policy. (Section 3, Rule V, Ibid.)

Same; No retaliatory action. No retaliatory action shall be undertaken by both parties against each other. (Paragraph 2, Section 3, Rule V, Ibid.)

Settlement for a show. In case of settlement for a show or where the settlement amount is reported to have been taken back or confiscated by the responding party, both parties shall be called for conference by the SEADO who facilitated the settlement. The SEADO shall verify the report and require the responding party to pay the requesting party the full settlement amount with legal interest reckoned from the date of the settlement should there be substantial proof that the settlement was for a show. (Section 4, Rule V, Ibid.)

Effect of non-compliance with the settlement agreement. The parties shall comply faithfully and in good faith with the settlement agreement without any attempt for avoidance or evasion, whatsoever. Settlement for a show shall also be considered as non-compliance. (Section 5, Rule V, Ibid.)

Same; For enforcement. In case of non-compliance, the SEADO shall exert best effort to effect the agreement, otherwise, he/she shall refer it for enforcement. The requesting party may file an action for enforcement with the NLRC/POEA/DOLE Regional Office, as the case may be. (Paragraph 2, Section 5, Rule V, Ibid.)

Same; Writ of execution. For enforcement of the agreement through the DOLE Regional Office, the requesting party may request for the issuance of a writ of execution or the conduct of compliance visit of the responding establishment, if applicable. (Paragraph 3, Section 5, Rule V, Ibid.)

Disclaimer: All information herein is for educational and general information only intended for those preparing for the bar exam. These should not be taken as professional legal advice or opinion. Please consult a competent lawyer to address your specific concerns. Any statements or opinions of the author are solely his own and do not reflect that of any organization he may be connected.

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