NLRC Rules of Procedure has been amended in the interim on account of the response of the government to COVID-19 threats. In essence, the amendments lessen the face-to-face interaction of the parties to a labor dispute.

The NLRC issued En Banc Resolution No. 03-20 (Series of 2020) exercising its power to  promulgate rules and regulations governing hearing and disposition of cases pursuant to Article 225 [218], paragraph (a) of the Labor Code of the Philippines, as amended.

This is in accordance with the Administrative Order No. 30 on 21 April 2020, directing all government agencies to immediately formulate and issue guidelines on the conduct of proceedings during the time of public health emergency, including but not limited to, the interruption of reglementary periods for the commencement of actions and claims, and the filing of pleadings, appearances, motions, notices and all other papers.

The NLRC resolved that to ensure that the Commission, its personnel and stakeholders are protected from the harmful effects of the COVID-19 virus, the following interim amendments to the 2011 NLRC Rules of Procedure have been made:

The conduct of the Mandatory Conciliation and Mediation

Conferences is hereby suspended, unless the Labor Arbiter, in his/her discretion, sets the case for mandatory conciliation and mediation conference.

The conference shall be done, as far as feasible, through videoconferencing or other electronic means that

will not require face-to-face interaction.

If any of the parties has no access to technology for electronic hearings, the Commission may provide a hearing room and laptop/tablet for their use, subject to availability of funds.

Notwithstanding the preceding paragraphs, the Labor Arbiter shall exert all efforts towards the amicable

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settlement of the case.

Filing of the Position Paper

The simultaneous filing of position papers under Section 12, paragraph (a) of Rule V of the 2011 NLRC Rules of Procedure, as amended, is likewise suspended.

Within two (2) days from the receipt of the complaint or amended complaint, the Labor Arbiter shall issue the Summons upon respondent. Within five (5) days from receipt of the return of summons, the Labor Arbiter shall issue an Order directing both parties to submit their respective position papers within fifteen (15) calendar days from receipt thereof, through registered mail or authorized private courier.

Within five (5) days from receipt of the Summons, the respondent may file a motion to set the case for mandatory conciliation and mediation conference for possible settlement. Likewise, within five (5) days from receipt of the Order to file position paper, the complainant may also file motion to set the case for mandatory conciliation and mediation conference for purposes of settlement.

Said motion should set forth therein the terms and conditions of the settlement proposal including the amount being offered. Within three (3) days, the other party shall file his/her response and counter proposal. Thereafter, the Labor Arbiter shall determine the nec of setting the case for mandatory conciliation and mediation conference, and correspondingly issue the notice of conference.

If no notice of conference is received by the parties, they shall proceed to file the position paper within the period set in the Order to file position paper issued by the Labor Arbiter.

Should the parties agree to settle the case amicably, they shall submit the notarized Compromise Agreement or a Quitclaim/Waiver/Release through personal service, registered mail or private courier.

All provisions of the existing rules and regulations inconsistent with the interim amendments are hereby deemed provisionally suspended or amended accordingly.

These interim amendment to the 2011 NLRC Rules of Procedure shall be in effect only during the public health emergency and may be revised at any time should prevailing circumstances change, and until further notice.

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