THE House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading a measure that assures media workers and practitioners of better benefits and security of tenure.
Garnering overwhelming 218 positive votes and no negative, House Bill 8140 or the Media Workers Welfare Act brings would require media companies to regularize all their workers after six months regardless of their employment classification.
A counterpart measure in the Senate is still in the committee level.
One of the principal authors, ACT-CIS Rep. Nina Taduran, expressed elation over the quick approval of HB 8140 which gives people working in the industry more protection.
“Tiwala tayo na mabibigyan na ang lahat ng manggagawa sa media ng karampatang proteksiyon at seguridad sa kanilang trabaho,” Taduran said.
The bill defines media workers as “those who are legitimately engaged in news media practice, directly or indirectly, whether as a principal occupation or not.”
The other authors of the bill are ACT-CIS Reps. Eric Yap and Jocelyn Tulfo.
HB 8140 would bar media companies from compensating their workers below the applicable minimum wage rate set by the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board.
Media workers would also be entitled to overtime pay, night shift premiums, and coverage by the Social Security System, the Pag-Ibig Fund, and the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation.
Those who would be required to physically report for work in dangerous areas like war zones, disease-infested locations, and areas under a state of calamity or emergency would be mandated to receive at least P500 hazard pay per day.
The bill also sets insurance coverage for media workers in cases of death and disability. Under the measure, a media worker would be granted a P200,000 death benefit, and he or she stands to receive up to P200,000 in case of total or partial disability arising from an injury while working.
The bill also sets a medical insurance benefit for media workers of up to P100,000.
The Department of Labor and Employment is mandated to create the News Media Tripartite Council, that will become a platform for employers and media workers to agree upon mutually beneficial policies.