Employment & Labour Law

House and Senate Bills on Waiver of Fees for Job Application Documents of New Graduates ratified

Date: 21 February 2019; Type: Select Type of News ; Source: House of Representatives

The House of Representatives ratified the bicameral conference committee report on House Bill No. 172 and Senate Bill No. 1629, both seeking to waive government fees and charges in the issuance of documents required in the application for employment of first-time jobseekers.

House Bill 172 is principally authored by Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles (1st District, Davao City) while Senate Bill 1629 is principally authored by Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara.

The ratified measure, also known as the “First Time Jobseekers Assistance Act” is in line with the State policy to expand accessibility to government services and provide incentives to improve a first-time jobseeker’s access to employment.

The ratified measure mandates all government agencies and instrumentalities, including government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs), local government units (LGUs) and government hospitals, not to collect fees or charges from a first time jobseeker.

The waiver refers to such fee or charge that is paid in connection with the application for the granting of licenses, proofs of identification, clearances, certificates or other documents usually required in the course of employment locally or abroad.

The said benefit shall only be availed of once.

The waiver of fees and charges applies to police clearance certificate; National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) clearance; barangay clearance; medical certificate from a public hospital excluding charges/fees collected for laboratory tests and medical procedures required for the grant of a medical certificate; birth certificate; marriage certificate; transcript of academic records issued by state colleges and universities; Tax Identification Number (TIN); Unified-Multi-Purpose ID (UMID) card; and other documentary requirements issued by the government that may be required by employers from job applicants.

To avail of the said benefit, the first time jobseeker is required to present a barangay certification stating that the applicant is a first-time jobseeker.

Concerned agencies shall maintain and update a roster of all individuals who availed of the benefit. The said roster shall be regularly submitted to the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) that will compile a roster of all beneficiaries to be made accessible to all relevant agencies.

The Public Employment Service Office or PESO in different provinces, cities, and municipalities shall be responsible for assisting first-time jobseekers in securing required pre-employment documents from relevant government agencies.

Excluded from the waiver of fees and charges are those fees and charges collected in connection with an application to take a professional licensure examination conducted by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC), application for a Philippine passport authentication and red ribbon of documents from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), application for a Career Service Examination with the Civil Service Commission (CSC), and application for a driver’s license from the Land Transportation Office (LTO).

The beneficiaries of the Jobstart Program under Republic Act (RA) No. 10869 and other laws that give similar exemptions for the documents or transactions enumerated in the Act shall likewise be disqualified from availing of the benefit provided in the Act.

The ratified measure calls for the creation of an inter-agency committee with the Secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) as chairperson, and heads of the CSC, the DICT, the Department of Finance (DOF), the Department of Education (DepEd), the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), the National Youth Commission (NYC), the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) as members and other departments, the participation of which the committee may deem necessary.

The committee shall monitor the compliance of the concerned government agencies and instrumentalities, and may recommend to the proper authorities the filing of an administrative complaint against any person who refuses to comply with the provisions of the Act.

The DOLE Secretary shall, in consultation with the DICT and other concerned agencies, issue the appropriate implementing rules and regulations to effectively implement the provisions of the Act within 60 days of its effectivity.

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