Rehiring of a project employee
Dear PAO,My uncle’s work is that of a construction work. He used to be a regular employee, but he resigned in 2015 due to family reasons. On Sept. 15, 2018, he was hired as a project employee of a small private construction company and in their contract, it was stated that his service would end on Sept. 14, 2019 because that was the target date for the completion of the project. But according to him, there are rumors among the other employees that he may be rehired after Sept. 14, 2019 because there might be another project of which he may be qualified. Assuming that he gets rehired, wouldn’t that essentially make him a regular employee?Debbie
In the situation of your uncle, it cannot be conclusively said that his employment status will be that of a regular employee once he gets rehired. For one, he was expressly hired as a project employee, and at the onset of his contract with the company it was clearly agreed upon by them that the duration of his service will only be for the period of Sept. 15, 2018 up to the completion of the company’s project which is on Sept. 14, 2019.
Second, the fact that an employee “gets rehired” does not altogether mean that an employee is being conferred with regularization. If the purpose of rehiring your uncle is in view of a new or upcoming project of the company and it was made clear to him that such impending engagement will be for the said project, informing him of the period covered for their contract and said project, then he will still be considered as a project employee. For better understanding, the Supreme Court elucidated:
“Accordingly, it is not uncommon for a construction firm to hire project employees to perform work necessary and vital for its business. Suffice it to say, in William Uy Construction Corp. and/or Uy, et al. v. Trinidad, the Court acknowledged the unique characteristic of the construction industry and emphasized that the laborer’s performance of work that is necessary and vital to the employer’s construction business, and the former’s repeated rehiring, do not automatically lead to regularization, viz.:
“Generally, length of service provides a fair yardstick for determining when an employee initially hired on a temporary basis becomes a permanent one, entitled to the security and benefits of regularization. But this standard will not be fair, if applied to the construction industry, simply because construction firms cannot guarantee work and funding for its payrolls beyond the life of each project. And getting projects is not a matter of course. Construction companies have no control over the decisions and resources of project proponents or owners. There is no construction company that does not wish it has such control but the reality, understood by construction workers, is that work depended on decisions and developments over which construction companies have no say.
x x x
“Additionally, in Malicdem, et al. v. Marulas Industrial Corporation, et al., the Court took judicial notice of the fact that in the construction industry, an employee’s work depends on the availability of projects. The employee’s tenure “is not permanent but coterminous with the work to which he is assigned.” x x x” (Minsola vs. New City Builders, Inc. and Engr. Fajardo, Ibid.)
We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.
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