Almost 4K workers benefit from Dole’s Sena program

THE monetary benefits that the Department of Labor and Employment in Central Visayas (Dole 7) has handed to embattled workers reached over P100 million in 2019.

Dole 7 Director Salome Siaton said the amount comprises the accumulated monetary benefits awarded to workers who sought help under the agency’s Single Entry Approach (Sena) program from January to December 2019.

“There were 3,825 workers who benefited from a total of P111,368,912.25 in monetary benefits under Sena in 2019,” she said.

The workers’ monetary claims were mostly on underpayment of wages and non-payment of holiday pay, premium pay, overtime pay and 13th month pay.

The month of October posted the biggest amount awarded to affected workers at P29 million. It was followed closely by the month of January that registered over P24 million in monetary benefits.

Sena is Dole’s administrative approach to provide a speedy, impartial, inexpensive and accessible settlement procedure for all complaints arising from employer-employee relations to prevent them from ripening into full-blown disputes.

The agency recorded a total of 3,295 requests for assistance, which were handled by its Sena desk officers.

Siaton said that there has to be some demarcation line set in everyone’s understanding between hearing a case and conciliating and mediating a request for assistance during a Sena conference.

Under Sena, she said there is no case yet.

Hence, the concerns of workers are lodged with the department, which are then settled in a conference.

Under Sena, desk officers make use of conciliation-mediation as a process of facilitating a settlement of labor and employment issues in a speedy and non-legalistic manner.

“The preferential use of voluntary modes of settling disputes is emphasized under the program,” Siaton noted.

Under the Sena guidelines, complaints are subject to 30-day mandatory conciliation-mediation services hoping to reach a dispute settlement within the period between parties.

Dole’s attached agencies, including the National Conciliation and Mediation Board 7, Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board 7, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration 7, National Labor Relations Commission-Regional Arbitration Branch 7 and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration 7 are also offering Sena services. (CSL)