Court Rules Filipino Seafarers are not "Regular Employees"

Thursday, August 22, 2002
The Supreme Court of the Philippines ruled that Filipino seafarers, in many cases, are not "regular employees" as that term is defined in the laws of the Philippines. In the instant case, plaintiff seafarers were employed through manning agents with international carriers for in excess of 20 years. They applied for and were authorized to depart on annual leave. Instead of returning at the end of their leave periods, they applied for retirement. The employers dismissed them for failure to return to work. Plaintiffs brought suit in the Philippines under local law that entitles "regular employees" who have been dismissed without just cause to be reinstated with back wages. The court held that, since plaintiffs' employment contracts were for fixed terms (maximum of 12 months) and new contracts were negotiated each year, plaintiffs were not "regular employees" and were not entitled to the rights thereunto pertaining. This case is significant because the Philippines is the largest single source for seafarers worldwide. Millares v. National Labor Relations Commission Source: HK Law

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