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On February 26, 2004, Bernardo filed a complaint against DLS-AU and its owner/manager, Dr. Oscar Bautista (Dr. Bautista), for the payment of retirement benefits.
Bernardo alleged that he started working as a part-time professional lecturer at DLS-AU (formerly known as the Araneta University Foundation) on June 1, 1974, for an hourly rate of ₱20.00. Bernardo taught for two semesters and the summer for the school year 1974-1975. Bernardo then took a leave of absence from June 1, 1975 to October 31, 1977 when he was assigned by the Philippine Government to work in Papua New Guinea. When Bernardo came back in 1977, he resumed teaching at DLS-AU until October 12, 2003, the end of the first semester for school year 2003-2004. Bernardo's teaching contract was renewed at the start of every semester and summer. However, on November 8, 2003, DLS-AU informed Bernardo through a telephone call that he could not teach at the school anymore as the school was implementing the retirement age limit for its faculty members. As he was already 75 years old, Bernardo had no choice but to retire.
Bernardo immediately sought advice from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) regarding his entitlement to retirement benefits after 27 years of employment. In letters dated January 20, 20046 and February 3, 2004,7 the DOLE opined that Bernardo was entitled to receive benefits under Republic Act No. 7641, otherwise known as the "New Retirement Law," and its Implementing Rules and Regulations.
Yet, Dr. Bautista, in a letter dated February 12, 2004, stated that Bernardo was not entitled to any kind of separation pay or benefits. Dr. Bautista explained to Bernardo that as mandated by the DLS-AU's policy and Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). As part-time faculty member, Bernardo did not acquire permanent employment under the Manual of Regulations for Private Schools, in relation to the Labor Code, regardless of his length of service.
Whether part-time employees are excluded from the coverage of those entitled to retirement benefits under Republic Act No. 7541.
Yes. Republic Act No. 7641 is a curative social legislation. It precisely intends to give the minimum retirement benefits to employees not entitled to the same under collective bargaining and other agreements. It also applies to establishments with existing collective bargaining or other agreements or voluntary retirement plans whose benefits are less than those prescribed in said law
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