Press Release
February 22, 2021

Colleges, tech-voc institutes to offer labor education as elective course

The Senate today approved a bill on third and final reading seeking to mandate all public and private higher education institutions (HEIs) to integrate labor education as part of an elective course.

Sen. Joel Villanueva, principal sponsor of Senate Bill No. 1513 or the Labor Education Act, said the measure was a consolidation of several bills filed by Senators Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr, Manuel "Lito" Lapid, himself, taking into consideration House Bill No. 4466.

According to Villanueva, around 700,000 students graduate from HEIs every year. However, he said these students have little knowledge of their labor rights and access to legal aid or assistance, forcing them to compromise and leaving them vulnerable to labor exploitations.

Villanueva, who chairs the Senate's labor and higher and tech-voc education committees, said equipping students with a basic knowledge in labor laws would help protect them from violation of their rights such as the right to security of tenure, minimum wages, premium pay in case of overtime, holiday work and night time work, among others.

"At present, the regions that have the highest number of students enrolled in higher education institutions are also the regions where establishments record dismal compliance to labor laws. Unfortunately, there is no clear core subject in the higher, technical, and vocational education sectors where labor education is comprehensively covered," Villanueva lamented.

He said the enactment of SBN 1513 into law would ensure that every Filipino worker would be aware of his/her rights and labor issues which ranges from unemployment and underemployment to problems concerning fare wages, job security, safe workplaces, social protection, and unfair labor practices.

Under the bill, HEIs and tech-voc training institutes shall hold a Labor Empowerment and Career Guidance conference which graduating students shall attend.

The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), in partnership with the Department of Labor and Employment, shall develop appropriate modules of instructions and other relevant materials relating to labor education and shall encourage all technical and vocational school nationwide to integrate labor education in their curriculum.

The Commission on Higher Education and TESDA shall review the coverage and quality of labor education courses offered in HEIs and technical and vocational schools.

"This proposed measure seeks to integrate labor education in the tertiary education and in technical and vocational education and training curriculum so that before students join the labor force, they are equipped with the basic understanding of laborers' rights and privileges," Revilla said in his co-sponsorship speech.

"This will empower them in facing the challenges waiting for them as they become laborers themselves. The more knowledge they have of labor practices and relations, rights and privileges, history and empowerment, the better they will be equipped as contributors to productivity and drivers of the national economy in general," he added.

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