Bello rejects proposed 2-year probation for workers

MANILA—Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III on Thursday thumbed down a proposal to extend the maximum probationary period of workers to 2 years from the current 6 months, saying it is “not in keeping” with the administration’s policy on security of tenure.

“I don’t support it. It’s too long,” he said. “That is no longer in keeping with our policy of security of tenure.”

Bello is also concerned the measure may result in illegal contractual arrangements.

“Is 6 months not enough to determine the qualification of the prospective worker? If you cannot know him in 2 days, you will never know him anywhere,” he said.

House Bill 4802, authored by Probinsyano Ako party-list Rep. Jose Singson Jr., seeks to extend the maximum prescribed period of probationary employment to 24 months, claiming that the current 6-month period is insufficient for some employers to determine whether a probationary employee is qualified for regular employment.

Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) chairman George Barcelon supports the bill.

“There are certain skills na kailangan eh. Kulang ang 6 months for them to learn that skill, minsan 1 year, 1 and a half year,” he said.

“Minsan hindi naman gano’n kabilis when you train a worker. Any skills you want to learn so that you’ll be good at it, it takes time,” Barcelon added.

According to Barcelon, the bill, once passed into law, will give employers the opportunity to evaluate probationary workers better and prevent their early termination.

“By the fifth month, if they’re not sure, they will let them go already. Ano ba ang matututunan ng 5 months, it’s too short,” Barcelon said.

“That gives them more breathing room when hiring and firing,” he added.

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