The 3 phases of a DOLE inspection

Glad to have assisted a client today with their DOLE Inspection.

It was as instructive for me as with the HR Manager and the DOLE Inspector.

I have given a lot of seminars and training on DOLE inspection. I always emphasize that the Human Resources (HR) Manager and/or his/her staff should be prepared for the three (3) phases of the inspection, namely:

1) Interview of rank-and-file employees;

2) Review of employment records; and

3) Occular inspection.

During the inspection, the DOLE inspector was quite capable and competent in what he was doing. He was thorough and diligent in his inspection.

1) Interview of Rank-and-File employees

I have assisted several companies before with their DOLE inspection. Before, it was called a joint assessment or a compliance audit depending on the mode of inspection and the grounds that initiated it. Usually, the inspection starts with the review of the employment records followed by the interview of rank-and-file employees.

This time it was instructive to note that the inspection started with the interview of rank-and-file employees. I do think this is a more appropriate procedure after observing the DOLE inspector.

You see, by interviewing a rank-and-file employee and having them fill-up the affidavit/interview form, the DOLE inspector may cross-reference the answers later on with the employment records, such as their answers concerning their compensation and benefits as compared to the payroll and pay slips.

In an interview, there is an affidavit/interview form where rank-and-file employees would asked to fill-up or asked by the DOLE inspector. The document contains standard questions such as the employee’s position, compensation, benefits, leaves, 13th month pay, remittances, and other general labor standards.

Depending on the DOLE inspector, he/she may ask related questions in the form. I noticed this in one inspection with a Company. The DOLE inspector asked for further details on how the employees are able to apply or use their leaves, from service incentive leaves, maternity leaves, paternity leaves, to solo parental leaves.

Usually, it is at the discretion of the DOLE inspectors as to how many rank-and-file employees will be interviewed. On average, I noticed that there are about 2-5 rank-and-file employees who are interviewed for the Company. Plus, 2-3 deployed workers from contractors or subcontractors servicing the establishment.

In all, I’ve seen an inspection where there around 15 workers interviewed. Half came from the Company, while the rest came from the workers of a contractor or subcontractor.

In our case, there were about 3 rank-and-file employees who were interviewed.

2) Review of employment records

As earlier mentioned, some DOLE inspector prefer to start with the review of the employment records prior to the interview of rank-and-file employees. In our case, we started with the interview followed by the review of employment records.

The DOLE inspector started asking for the Company registration documents, such as the SEC Certificate of Registration, LGU Business Permit and License, to other business registration. He was checking for the nature of business of the Company and other relevant information. He also checked for the Fire Safety Inspection.

He then proceeded with reviewing the employment records, such as the employee roster, pay roll, pay slips, remittances, employment contracts, service agreements, and so on. He went through a 6-page checklist in table format. (I emphasize the description as I have seen a different kind of checklist in numbered format, which also has another version. I’ve noticed that there are different versions being used.)

As earlier mentioned, it was at this point that the affidavit/interview form came in handy for the DOLE inspector was able to cross-reference their answers with the available employment records.

We were pleased to note that we were compliant with our General Labor Standards (GLS) covering the Company’s compliance with compensation, mandatory benefits, and remittances.

On a small note, the Company was still developing its Occupational Safety and Health Standards (OSHS) programs and policies. This was our noted deficiency. (At this point, I politely asked the DOLE inspector if there is already a template uploaded by DOLE as I have been receiving reports that there is one online. However, I have went through the websites of DOLE, BWC, and OSHS, and did not find it.)

To remedy our deficiency, the Company will be preparing its OSHS programs and policies. We were advised that we can develop it on our own.

3) Occular inspection

After the review, the DOLE inspector conducted an occular inspection to check for the Company’s premises for OSHS compliance, lactation area, posting of business registration, among others.

At this point, we were also glad to learn that the establishment passed the occular inspection.

Notice of Results

Once the three phases were completed, the DOLE inspector proceeded with writing down his findings on a Notice of Results. It was indicated therein that the Company was compliant with the General Labor Standards (GLS); however, it had to comply with the required OSHS programs and policies by making one and submitting it to the DOLE Field Office.

In all, the DOLE inspection lasted for about 2-3 hours. The results were good. If a Company has good HR documentation and policies, then an inspection would simply verify that good systems and practices are in place.