Employment bond claims fall within the jurisdiction of the Labor Arbiter
Employment bond which oftentimes refers to the amount of money to be paid by the employee to the employer for resignation prior to the end of stipulated period or for termination for cause is an employment related issue although the dispute usually occurs when the employee is not anymore connected.
For instance, the employer and employee may agree on a minimum employment length in the contract, as follows:
“You agree to remain in our employ for a minimum of twenty-four (24) months from your start date. This period will enable you to avail of the training and development programs, in the form of formal plus on-the-job training, that will prepare you for a meaningful career with XYZ.
If, for any reason, you terminate your employment with the company at your volition or were terminated for cause before you complete the twenty-four (24) months of service from your start date, you agree to indemnify the company the amount of PhP80,000.00 to cover all expenses incurred in relation to your employment. This includes, but not limited to, recruitment expenses, formal on-the-job training and other related administrative costs.”
If the employee resigned prior to the end of twenty-four months, the employer may demand for the payment of the PhP80,000.00. If the employee disputes this provision of the contract and was later on separated from the company, does the claim of this nature which the parties call “employment bond” falls within the jurisdiction of the Labor Arbiter?
The Supreme Court, in the case of Comscentre Phils., Inc. vs. Rocio (G.R. No. 222212, January 22, 2020), held that the employee’s claim for payment is inseparably intertwined with the parties’ employer-employee relationship. For it was the employee’s act of prematurely severing her employment with the company which gave rise to the latter’s cause of action of payment of “employment bond.”