DOLE Secretary


▪ The Secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE Secretary) has jurisdiction over certain cases.

▪ The DOLE Secretary has visitorial and enforcement powers.

1. Concept

The Secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE Secretary) has jurisdiction over certain cases.

2. DOLE Secretary’s Jurisdiction

a. Original jurisdiction

1) Assumption of jurisdiction

When, in his opinion, there exists a labor dispute causing or likely to cause a strike or lockout in an industry indispensable to the national interest, the DOLE Secretary may assume jurisdiction over the dispute and decide it or certify the same to the NLRC for compulsory arbitration. (Article 278 [263] (g), Labor Code)

Such assumption or certification shall have the effect of automatically enjoining the intended or impending strike or lockout as specified in the assumption or certification order. If one has already taken place at the time of assumption or certification, all striking or locked out employees shall immediately return to work and the employer shall immediately resume operations and readmit all workers under the same terms and conditions prevailing before the strike or lockout. (Ibid.)

The DOLE Secretary or the NLRC may seek the assistance of law enforcement agencies to ensure compliance with this provision as well as with such orders as he may issue to enforce the same. (Ibid.)

b. Appellate Jurisdiction

1) Labor standards cases, including occupational safety and health standards, from the decision of the DOLE Regional Director (Article 128, Ibid.);

2) Orders of the DOLE Regional Director (Section 1, Rule IV, Rules on the Disposition of Labor Standards Cases in the Regional Offices);

3) Union registration or cancellation cases, from the decision of the Bureau of Labor Relations; and,

4) Certification election cases from decision of the Med-Arbiter.

3. Visitorial and enforcement powers

a. Visitorial and enforcement powers

1) To access to employer’s records and premises at any time of the day or night whenever work is being undertaken therein;

2) To copy therefrom;

3) To question any employee;

4) To investigate any fact, condition or matter which may be necessary to determine violations or which may aid in the enforcement of this Code and of any labor law, wage order or rules and regulations issued pursuant thereto;

5) To issue compliance orders to give effect to the labor standards provisions of this Code and other labor legislation based on the findings of labor employment and enforcement officers or industrial safety engineers made in the course of inspection: Provided, employer-employee relationship still exists;

6) To issue writs of execution to the appropriate authority for the enforcement of their orders, except in cases where the employer contests the findings of the labor employment and enforcement officer and raises issues supported by documentary proofs which were not considered in the course of inspection;

7) To order stoppage of work or suspension of operations of any unit or department of an establishment when non-compliance with the law or implementing rules and regulations poses grave and imminent danger to the health and safety of workers in the workplace;

8) To inquire into the financial activities of legitimate labor organizations upon the filing of a complaint under oath and duly supported by the written consent of at least twenty percent (20%) of the total membership of the labor organization concerned and to examine their books of accounts and other records to determine compliance or non-compliance with the law and to prosecute any violations of the law and the union constitution and by-laws: Provided, That such inquiry or examination shall not be conducted during the sixty (60)-day freedom period nor within the thirty (30) days immediately preceding the date of election of union officials; and,

9) To require employers to keep and maintain such employment records as may be necessary in aid of his visitorial and enforcement powers under this Code, by appropriate regulations. (Article 128, Ibid.)

b. Non-interference by courts

It shall be unlawful for any person or entity to obstruct, impede, delay or otherwise render ineffective the orders of the DOLE Secretary, and no inferior court or entity shall issue temporary or permanent injunction or restraining order or otherwise assume jurisdiction over any case involving the enforcement orders. (Article 128[d], Ibid.)

4. Power to suspend effects of termination

a. Suspending effects of termination

The DOLE Secretary may suspend the effects of the termination pending resolution of the dispute in the event of a prima facie finding by the appropriate official of the DOLE before whom such dispute is pending that the termination may cause a serious labor dispute or is in implementation of a mass lay-off. (Article 277[b], Ibid.)

5. Remedies

a. Remedies from DOLE Secretary’s Decision/Resolution

1) Special Civil Action for Certiorari before the Court of Appeals (Rule 65, Rules of Court); or,

2) Appeal with Office of the President (Administrative Order No. 22, Series of 2011)



Presidential Decree No. 442, a.k.a. Labor Code of the Philippines

DOLE Omnibus Rules Implementing the Labor Code

▪ Jurisprudence or Supreme Court Decisions

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