Labor cases – rules, procedures, practices in 2022

The 2020 pandemic resulted in the modification of the rules, procedures, and practices for Labor Cases before the Single Entry Approach (SEnA) and the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC). Mostly, the process shifts in favor of using technology, particularly the use of videoconference and other electronic means that will not require face-to-face interaction.

Single Entry Approach (SEnA)

Per a SEnA Notice received by a client, the procedure now at SEnA is as follows:

1) Parties are required to send an email to the SEnA Hearing Officer if they have any offer of settlement and terms thereof;
2) The SEnA Hearing Officer will then reach out to the parties to discuss any offer of settlement that is on the table;
3) If the parties agree to a settlement, the SEnA Hearing Officer will assist the parties to executing the agreement and facilitate the payment.
4) If the parties fail to agree to a settlement, the SEnA Hearing Officer will conclude the mediation conference and advise the complainant that he/she may proceed with filing a formal complaint with the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC).

Labor Arbiter

Per an NLRC Summons received by a client, the procedure now at the NLRC before the Labor Arbiter is as follows:

Option 1:
1) Within five (5) days from receipt of the Summons, the parties may file a Motion to Set the Case for Mandatory Conciliation and Mediation Conference for a Possible Settlement, with copy furnished/served to the other parties;
2) If the Labor Arbiter grants the motion, a conciliation and mediation conference will be scheduled where the parties will be able to discuss a possible amicable settlement via videoconference or other electronic means that will not require face-to-face interaction.
2-A) If the Labor Arbiter denies the motion, the parties will be required to submit their position papers.
3) If the Labor Arbiter orders the filing of a Reply, the parties will be required to submit their respective Reply to the other’s Position Paper.
4) The case will then be submitted for resolution.
Option 2:
1) If the parties have settled amicably, they may file a Motion for Judgment based on Compromise Agreement/Motion for Dismissal based on Quitclaim and Release with attached copy of the notarized Compromise Agreement or a Quitclaim/Release/Waiver.
2) The motion will then be submitted for resolution.

It should be noted that all motions may be served and filed through personal service, registered mail, or private courier. Service refers to copy furnishing all other parties. Filing refers to the submission with the NLRC via the Receiving and Docket Unit. Service always precedes filing and details of the service should be indicated in the submission to be filed.

Disclaimer: All information is for educational and general information only. These should not be taken as professional legal advice or opinion. Please consult a competent lawyer to address your specific concerns. Any statements or opinions of the author are solely his own and do not reflect that of any organization he may be connected.

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