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General Principles and Concepts


Labor Law – it is the exertion by human beings of physical or mental efforts, or both, towards the production
of goods and services.

– includes all the rules of law governing the conditions under which persons may work under the control of
other persons called employers.

Labor Standards – prescribe the terms and conditions of employment as affecting wages or monetary
benefits, hours of work, cost of living allowances, and occupational health, safety and welfare of the

Labor Relations – is used to denote all matters arising out of employer-employee relationship involving
the concerted action on the part of the workers which is usually related with right to self-organization,
collective bargaining and negotiation processes.

Social Legislation – law governing employer – employee relationship while the latter is not “at work” due
to hazards be his beyond his control arising from employment which immobilize him from working. (Poquiz,

What are the sources of Labor Law?

1. Labor Code and other related special legislation;

2. Contracts
3. Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) – it is the norm of conduct between the ER and EEs and
compliance therewith is mandated by the express policy of the law. (Dole Philippines, Inc. v. Pawis ng
Makabayang Obrero, G.R. No. 146650, January 13, 2003)
4. Company Practice
Requisites before past practices would be considered as a source of labor law:
a. Voluntarily institution by ER without any legal compulsion;
b. A passage of time-should have been done over a long period of time, and must be shown to have
been consistent and deliberate (American Wire and Cable Daily Rated Employees Union v. American Wire and
Cable Co., Inc., G.R. No. 155059, April 29, 2009)
5. Company Policies - no passage of time is required for a company policy to become a source of labor

Police Power

- The enactment of labor and social laws can be justified under the exercise of the State’s inherent police
power vested in the legislature to make such wholesome and reasonable laws, not repugnant to the
Constitution, as it shall judge to be for the good and welfare of the state and its people. (Poquiz, 2012)

- Based on two Latin Maxims – “Salus Populi est suprema lex” (welfare of the people is the supreme
law); “sic utere tuo ut alienum non laedas” (so use your own as not to injure another property)

What is the aim of labor law?

- The aim of labor law is social justice.

What is Social Justice?
- Social justice is “neither communism, nor despotism, nor atomism, nor anarchy,” but the humanization
of laws and the equalization of social and economic forces by the State so that justice in its rational and
objectively secular conception may at least be approximated. Social justice means the promotion of the
welfare of all the people, the adoption by the Government of measures calculated to insure economic
stability of all the competent elements of society, through the maintenance of a proper economic and
social equilibrium in the interrelations of the members of the community, constitutionally, through the
adoption of measures legally justifiable, or extra-constitutionally, through the exercise of powers
underlying the existence of all governments on the time-honored principles of salus populi estsuprema
lex (Calalang v. Williams, G.R. No. 47800, December 2, 1940)

What are the limitations in involving the principle of social justice?

1. Not to undermine property rights resulting in confiscation;

2. May only protect the laborers who come out to court with clean hands;
3. Never result to an injustice or oppression of the ER. (UST Golden Notes, 2014)

How do the provisions of the law on labor relations interrelate, if at all, with the provisions pertaining
to labor standards?

- The law on Labor Relations provides for rights and procedures by which workers may obtain from their
ER benefits which are over and above the minimum terms and conditions of employment set by labor
standards law. Labor standards law alone does not guarantee lasting industrial peace. It is assured
through Labor Relations which enables workers to obtain better benefits guaranteed by labor standards
laws and by providing for a mechanism to settle disputes between the ER and his EE. (2003 Bar Question)

Labor legislation v. Social Legislation

Labor Law Social Legislation

- More direct in its application as it affects - Governs the effects of employment.
directly actual employment.
- Designed to meet the daily needs of a worker. - Involves long range benefits
- Covers employment for profit or gain - Covers employment for gain or non-profit
- Affects the work of the EE - Affects the life of the employee
- Benefits are paid by the worker’s employee - Are paid by government agencies
administering the program. (Poquiz, 2012)

Contract of Labor
- It is a consensual, nominate, principal, and commutative contract whereby one person, called the ER,
compensates another, called the laborer, worker or EE, for the latter’s service. It is relationship
impressed with public interest in keeping with our constitutional policy of social justice. (UST Golden Notes,

Essential Characteristics of a contract of labor

1. ER freely enters into a contract with the EE;
2. ER can select who his EE will be;
3. ER can dismiss the EE; the EE in turn can quit his job;
4. ER must give remuneration; and
5. ER can control and supervise the conduct of the EE.

Constitutional Provisions
1. Article XII, SECTION 3. The State shall afford full protection to labor, local and overseas, organized
and unorganized, and promote full employment and equality of employment opportunities for all.

It shall guarantee the rights of all workers to self-organization, collective bargaining and negotiations,
and peaceful concerted activities, including the right to strike in accordance with law. They shall be
entitled to security of tenure, humane conditions of work, and a living wage. They shall also participate
in policy and decision-making processes affecting their rights and benefits as may be provided by law.

The State shall promote the principle of shared responsibility between workers and employers and the
preferential use of voluntary modes in settling disputes, including conciliation, and shall enforce their
mutual compliance therewith to foster industrial peace.

The State shall regulate the relations between workers and employers, recognizing the right of labor to
its just share in the fruits of production and the right of enterprises to reasonable returns on investments,
and to expansion and growth.

2. Article II, SECTION 9. The State shall promote a just and dynamic social order that will ensure the
prosperity and independence of the nation and free the people from poverty through policies that
provide adequate social services, promote full employment, a rising standard of living, and an improved
quality of life for all.

3. Article II, SECTION 10. The State shall promote social justice in all phases of national development.

4. Article II, SECTION 11. The State values the dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect
for human rights.

5. Article II, SECTION 13. The State recognizes the vital role of the youth in nation-building and shall
promote and protect their physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual, and social well-being. It shall inculcate
in the youth patriotism and nationalism, and encourage their involvement in public and civic affairs.

6. Article II, SECTION 14. The State recognizes the role of women in nation-building, and shall ensure
the fundamental equality before the law of women and men.

7. Article II, SECTION 18. The State affirms labor as a primary social economic force. It shall protect the
rights of workers and promote their welfare.

8. Article II, SECTION 20. The State recognizes the indispensable role of the private sector, encourages
private enterprise, and provides incentives to needed investments.

9. Article III, SECTION 1. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of
law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws.

10. Article III, SECTION 4. No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of
the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of

11. Article III, SECTION 8. The right of the people, including those employed in the public and private
sectors, to form unions, associations, or societies for purposes not contrary to law shall not be abridged.

12. Article III, SECTION 10. No law impairing the obligation of contracts shall be passed.

13. Article III, SECTION 16. All persons shall have the right to a speedy disposition of their cases before
all judicial, quasi-judicial, or administrative bodies.
14. Article III, SECTION 18. (2) No involuntary servitude in any form shall exist except as a punishment
for a crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.

15. Article XIII, SECTION 2. The promotion of social justice shall include the commitment to create
economic opportunities based on freedom of initiative and self-reliance.

16. Article XIII, SECTION 1. The Congress shall give highest priority to the enactment of measures that
protect and enhance the right of all the people to human dignity, reduce social, economic, and political
inequalities, and remove cultural inequities by equitably diffusing wealth and political power for the
common good.

To this end, the State shall regulate the acquisition, ownership, use, and disposition of property and its

17. Article XIII, SECTION 13. The State shall establish a special agency for disabled persons for
rehabilitation, self-development and self-reliance, and their integration into the mainstream of society.

18. Article XIII, SECTION 14. The State shall protect working women by providing safe and healthful
working conditions, taking into account their maternal functions, and such facilities and opportunities
that will enhance their welfare and enable them to realize their full potential in the service of the nation.

Basic rights of workers guaranteed by the constitution

1. Security of tenure
2. Living wage
3. Humane working conditions
4. Share in the fruits of production
5. Self-organization
6. Collective bargaining and negotiation
7. Engage in peaceful concerted activities, including the right to strike
8. Participate in policy and decision making process

Right to labor, a property right

- The right of a person to his labor is deemed to be property within the mantle of constitutional protection.
That his means of livelihood. He cannot be deprived of his labor or work without due process of law.
(Poquiz, 2012)

Laborer’s wages not subject to execution

Article 1708, NCC – The laborer’s wages shall not be subject to execution or attachment, except for debts
incurred for food, shelter, clothing and medical attendance.

Employer cannot retain Laborer’s tools

Art. 1709, NCC - The employer shall neither seize nor retain any tool or other articles belonging to the

Right to dismiss, subject to State regulation

Art. 1710, NCC - Dismissal of laborers shall be subject to the supervision of the Government, under special

- The right to hire or dismiss is a management prerogative. However, such management right should be
exercised in good faith because as abuse of this right is destructive of industrial peace. Thus, the State
in the exercise of its police power has made this right subject to special laws. (Poquiz, 2012)