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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Treaty to bolster protection for informal workers—Imee

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Informal  workers comprising 42 percent of the country’s working force, will get the same protection as regular employees.

This as the  Senate was close to ratifying an international labor treaty, Senator Imee Marcos said.

Marcos, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, said the informal workers will be protected against physical, sexual, psychological, and economic abuse.

She said her committee was ready to recommend International Labor Organization Convention 190 to the Senate plenary after the proposed treaty received “unanimous concurrence” from key government agencies and non-governmental organizations during the committee’s hearing last week.

She also said many of the  informal workers were farmhands, house helps, and gig workers in the creative industries,” she pointed out. 

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She added that their number could be higher if an accurate national inventory of informal workers were conducted.

Also known as the Violence and Harassment Convention of 2019, the ILO treaty “no longer refers to a territorial workplace but, more importantly, the entire world of work.”

The treaty expanded the protection of workers beyond the traditional workplace and now includes places where workers take a meal or rest break, sanitary and changing facilities, employer-provided accommodation, venues of work-related trips and social activities, as well as virtual spaces where work-related communications take place.

Besides the informal workers, the treaty also protects trainees, interns, apprentices, volunteers, job applicants, and workers whose employment has been terminated.

Toward full compliance with the treaty, Marcos instructed the formation of two technical working groups to identify domestic laws that should be amended, and to ultimately organize a reliable inventory of informal workers.

“Thirty-six countries have already ratified the treaty, but the Philippines could be the first Asian country to do so,” Marcos noted.

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