DOLE Guidelines Provide for the Role of Employers in Supporting Workers in the Informal Economy
In order to further provide support for workers in the informal economy under the Safe Spaces Act (Republic Act No. 11313), the Department of Labor and Employment issued Department Order No. 230-21 (Guidelines) on 22 November 2021 providing guidelines for the appropriate mechanisms and interventions, including redress mechanisms, in case of gender-based sexual harassment in the workplace with such Gender-Based Sexual Harassment referring to specific acts penalized by the Safe Spaces Act. Such guidelines are applicable to employees covered by the Domestic Workers Act (Republic Act No. 10361), as well as those employed in the informal economy and those employed in establishments with ten or fewer employees. For reference, Informal economy refers to all economic activities by workers and economic units that are – in law or in practice – insufficiently covered by formal arrangements or not covered at all.
The Guidelines provide for the following duties of employers of domestic workers to protect against gender-based sexual harassment against the employee in the workplace according to Section 1 of Part II of the Guidelines:
- The employer shall acquaint oneself, their family members, and the kasambahay on the salient features of the Safe Spaces Act
- The employer shall include the following stipulations in the contract of employment of the kasambahay:
- The kasambahay shall be protected from GBSH in the workplace; and
- The kasambahay shall be given access to internet connectivity as part of he right to access to outside communication
- The employer shall provide adequate assistance to the kasambahay, even if the act is committed by an individual other than the employer or members of the employers’ household, in filing the gender-based sexual harassment complaint/case to appropriate government agencies, such as the nearest Barangay Local Government Units, Philippine National Police, Women’s Desk, Prosecutor’s Office and/or other appropriate government authorities.
On the other hand, establishments employing ten or fewer employees, employers or other persons of authority, influence or moral ascendancy shall have the duty to prevent, deter, or punish the commission of acts of gender-based sexual harassment in the workplace. They shall perform, as practicable, the following according to Section 1 Part IV of the Guidelines:
- Disseminate or post in a conspicuous place in the workplace a copy of The Safe Spaces Act, its IRR, and the Guidelines
- Adopt measures to prevent gender-based sexual harassment in the workplace, such as the conduct if anti-sexual harassment seminars and orientation on the salient features of The Safe Spaces Act, its IRR, and the Guidelines
- Create an independent internal mechanism or a Committee on Decorum and Investigation (CODI) to investigate and address gender-based sexual harassment complaints
- Develop and disseminate, in consultation with employees a code of conduct or workplace policy which shall:
- Expressly reiterate the prohibition on gender-based sexual harassment
- Outline the procedures of the internal mechanism in investigating and addressing gender-based sexual harassment complaints
- Set administrative penalties for the violation of the code of conduct or workplace policy on gender-based sexual harassment
- Report confirmed instances of gender-based sexual harassment and coordinate with concerned government authorities and ensure that the victim-employee receives prompt and appropriate assistance
The Guidelines may be viewed here for further reference.