Among the services of OWWA include the facilitation of Single Entry Approach (SEnA), an administrative approach to providing a speedy, accessible, efficient, and unbiased resolution procedure for all issues and concerns of OFWs. This process focuses on disputes arising from relations between an employer and employee, in order to prevent them from growing into full blown conflicts.
All labor and employment issues filed under this process will undergo a 30-day mandatory conciliation and mediation period in hopes of reaching a settlement between the conflicting parties.
Should you be in need of such assistance, or if you know of someone who does, this article will brief you on the process and important details.
The Single Entry Approach applies best and caters most usually to repatriated OFWs and their qualified dependents. In either case, they may request for assistance under this approach following the requirements and procedure.
Among the basic requirements to submit when requesting for assistance under SEnA are as follows:
- Any valid ID
- Duly accomplished Request for Assistance (RA) Form
- A copy of Passport, including the page containing the arrival and departure stamps
- A copy of Certificate of Employment, or any documentary proof of employment abroad
- POLO Case Study Report, as issued by the designated POLO office
- Supplementary documents as needed in the case, such as a copy of recent payslip
Upon completion of the requirements, applicants must follow the procedure for a smooth and easy transaction:
- Go to your nearest OWWA Regional or Satellite Office, or your designated OWWA POLO office to request for an RA form. Upon receipt of the form, you will be queued for an interview with the designated officer.
- Fill up the form with the required information as you wait for your interview.
- The assigned personnel will then conduct your interview. After which, your application will be forwarded to the Philippine Recruitment Agency (PRA) to schedule a conference.
- Within 30 days upon receipt of notice by PRA, OWWA-LEGAL or the designated OWWA Regional Welfare Office will facilitate the conciliation process.
- Once the conciliation process is finished and a settlement is reached, an endorsement letter will be sent to the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) and Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) to finalize the process.
- An employer, OFW individual, group, or union, or their qualified dependent may file a request for assistance in the OWWA Regional or POLO office where the employer primarily operates.
- Settlements reached within the 30-day conciliation and mediation process are final and shall take effect immediately, unless deemed a violation of any law, morals, public order or safety.
- In case no settlement is reached within 30 days, or any of the conflicting parties refuse or fail to follow the agreed terms, the issue may be elevated to the higher department agencies or they may opt for a voluntary arbitration.
- In the case of voluntary arbitration, a competent and impartial third party individual shall be introduced to decide on the merits of the case. Decisions made in this light shall be final, executory and binding.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Here are some common questions and answers about SEnA program
1. What is the Single Entry Approach?
The Single Entry Approach (SEnA) is an administrative approach to providing an accessible, cost-efficient, fast and impartial approach to resolving employer-employee disputes and prevent them from escalating.
2. Who are qualified to file under SEnA?
OFW individuals who have been repatriated, and their qualified dependents, as well as OFW groups or unions, and employers, may file a request for assistance under SEnA.
3. What issues can be resolved under SEnA?
SEnA processes requests arising from labor and employment concerns, including, but not limited to:
- Closures, retrenchments, redundancies, and temporary lay-offs;
- Financial claims, regardless of amount;
- Intra- and inter-union issues, except for petition for certification election after exhausting administrative efforts and remedies;
- Occupational health and safety, except for situations involving imminent danger;
- OFW cases;
- Other labor-related issues (OLRI) and its consequent issues;
- Termination and suspension of employment issues;
- Unfair labor practices, and;
- Any other claims arising from employer-employee relationships
4. What issues does SEnA not cater to?
SEnA processes do not cover the following concerns:
- Issues emerging from interpretation and/or application of collective bargaining agreement, as well as those of corporate personnel policies, which is handled by the Grievance Machinery and voluntary arbitration;
- Strikes or lockout notices, which must be filed to the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB);
- Violations of permits, licenses or registrations:
- Alien Employment Permit (AEP)
- Working Child Permit (WCP) and violations of RA. 9321 (Anti-Child Labor Law)
- POEA-issued licenses under the Migrant Workers’ Act
- Professional licenses issued by PRC
- TESDA accreditations
- Other similar permits, licenses or registrations issued by DOLE or its attached agencies.
5. Where can I make a request under SEnA?
SEnA requests can be filed through the designated officer at the Single Entry Assistance Desk (SEAD) of the OWWA POLO office within the vicinity of the employer. If the applicant is a union or group, they must file the request at the Regional or Satellite office where they are registered.
The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) is the government agency and service arm of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) that is mandated to provide support to Filipino migrant workers and their qualified dependents in the country in service of their welfare and interest.
Through their administrative, educational, and employment assistance programs, among others, OFWs are given access to services that will make their migrant journey easier and more convenient.
In conclusion, the OWWA Single Entry Approach provides a smoother and easier process of resolving conflicts, and this not only applies to OFWs and their qualified dependents, but also to employers and labor groups or unions who are also aiming to welcome a peaceful resolution upon returning home. Ultimately, this process allows for a fresh start for all parties concerned.