Consequences if the Employer Fails to Appear in SENA ConferencesAtty Elvin
SENA or Single Entry Approach refers to an administrative approach to provide a speedy, impartial, inexpensive and accessible settlement procedure of all labor issues or conflicts to prevent them from ripening into full blown disputes. Conciliation-mediation process shall be utilized as immediate intervention to effect amicable settlement among the differing parties.
It is a 30-day conciliation-mediation services shall be made operational through the Single Entry Approach Desk (SEAD) either in the Regional Branch of the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB) and in the Regional Arbitration Branch of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC), or with two or more regional offices/branches of the DOLE as may be determined appropriate by the DOLE Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) based on the number of Desk Officers and volume of cases in the region. Single Entry Approach Desk is established in all Provincial and District Offices of the DOLE.
The parties are required to appear at all times. Lawyers may be allowed to join the conference only to render advice to parties.
In case of non-appearance of the employer or the party complained of despite due notice, the complaining party may request for the issuance of the Referral or for a re-setting of the conciliation-mediation conference at any day within the 30-day period.
Any or both parties, within the 30-day period, may pre-terminate the proceedings and request Referral to the appropriate DOLE Office or Agency which has jurisdiction over the dispute, or if both parties so agree,
refer the unresolved issues to voluntary arbitration.
In case of failure to reach an agreement within the 30-day mandatory conciliation-mediation period, the Desk Officer shall issue a Referral to the appropriate DOLE Agency or Office which has jurisdiction over the dispute, or if both parties so agree, refer the unresolved issues to voluntary arbitration.
The SENA rules give life to the spirit of R.A. 10396 or an act strengthening conciliation-mediation as a voluntary mode of dispute settlement for all labor cases. It amended Article 228 of Presidential Decree No. 442, as amended, otherwise known as the “Labor Code of the Philippines”
With the amendment, the article states, that subject to certain exceptions, all issues arising from labor and employment shall be subject to mandatory conciliation-mediation. The labor arbiter or the appropriate DOLE agency or office that has jurisdiction over the dispute shall entertain only endorsed or referred cases by the duly authorized officer.
Any or both parties involved in the dispute may pre-terminate the conciliation-mediation proceedings and request referral or endorsement to the appropriate DOLE agency or office which has jurisdiction over the dispute, or if both parties so agree, refer the unresolved issues to voluntary arbitration.
R.A. 10396 institutionalized the Single Entry Approach or SENA Program of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and its attached agencies under Department Order No. 107-10, Series of 2010.
With the pre-termination, referral may be made to the appropriate DOLE office or agency or Voluntary Arbitration. The requesting party shall submit the Referral to the appropriate office. However, no Referral shall be issued where the requesting party has withdrawn the RFA.
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