Recent Labor Jurisprudence (RLJ): Hotel Nurses

Although I have posted digests of recent jurisprudence on labor law on this blog before, I think it’s high time I make the whole thing a little bit formal by assigning a category, i.e. Recent Labor Jurisprudence, henceforth RLJ.

Let’s begin with a case decided just this month involving the employment status of nurses engaged by a hotel. Here’s what the Supreme Court has to say in the case of Escasinas, et al. vs. Shangrila’s Mactan Island Resort, et al. (G.R. No. 178827).

Under the foregoing provision, Shangri-la, which employs more than 200 workers, is mandated to “furnish” its employees with the services of a full-time registered nurse, a part-time physician and dentist, and an emergency clinic which means that it should provide or make available such medical and allied services to its employees, not necessarily to hire or employ a service provider. As held in Philippine Global Communications vs. De Vera:

x x x while it is true that the provision requires employers to engage the services of medical practitioners in certain establishments depending on the number of their employees, nothing is there in the law which says that medical practitioners so engaged be actually hired as employees,  adding that the law, as written, only requires the employer “to retain”, not employ, a part-time physician who needed to stay in the premises of the non-hazardous workplace for two (2) hours. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)

The term “full-time” in Art. 157 cannot be construed as referring to the type of employment of the person engaged to provide the services, for Article 157 must not be read alongside Art. 280 in order to vest employer-employee relationship on the employer and the person so engaged. So De Vera teaches:

x x x For, we take it that any agreement may provide that one party shall render services for and in behalf of another, no matter how necessary for the latter’s business, even without being hired as an employee. This set-up is precisely true in the case of an independent contractorship as well as in an agency agreement.  Indeed, Article 280 of the Labor Code, quoted by the appellate court, is not the yardstick for determining the existence of an employment relationship. As it is, the provision merely distinguishes between two (2) kinds of employees, i.e., regular and casual. x x x (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)

The phrase “services of a full-time registered nurse” should thus be taken to refer to the kind of services that the nurse will render in the company’s premises and to its employees, not the manner of his engagement.

You can read the whole thing HERE.

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