Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz, German Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Dr. Ursula Von Der Leyen, German Ambassador to the Philippines Dr. Joachim Heidorn, and Philippine Ambassador to Germany Ma. Cleofe Natividad yesterday witnessed the signing of the “Agreement Concerning the Placement of Filipino Health Care Professionals in Employment Positions in the Federal Republic of Germany” between the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) headed by Administrator Hans Leo J. Cacdac and the German Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur fur Arbeit, or BA) headed by Director Monika Varnhagen in a simple ceremony at the DOLE in Intramuros, Manila.
The agreement paves the way for the opening of the German health care sector for Filipino healthcare professionals, including nurses.
Baldoz, after the agreement’s signing, hailed the quick and successful conclusion of the initiative as “a beginning of a stronger relationship between the Philippines and Germany in the field of labor and employment”.
“The conclusion of this agreement between the POEA and Germany’s Federal Employment Agency, through its International Placement Services, concerning the government-to-government placement of Filipino health professionals for temporary employment in Germany manifests the Philippine government’s firm commitment to provide for an orderly system for the recruitment of Filipino health care professionals to Germany,” said Baldoz.
“It also demonstrates our commitment to promote their welfare and protection, as well as to cooperate with Germany on the promotion and sustainability of human resource development (HRD) in the Philippines. These are important elements in the joint management of migration that has strong potential to contribute to a “triple win” for the workers, for the employers, and for the two countries,” she added.
Other German and Philippine officials who witnessed the signing of the agreement were Anke Barneworld of the Office of the German Minister of Labor and Social Affairs; Christoff Wegner, Commercial Counsellor of the German Embassy in Manila; Atty. Teresita Manzala, Chairperson of the Professional Regulation Commission; Assistant Secretary Ma. Zenaida Angara-Collinson of the Department of Foreign Affairs; Director Nimfa de Guzman of the POEA; Director Mersole Mellejor of the Office of European Affairs, DFA; and Director Rodolfo Sabulao of the DOLE’s International Labor Affairs Bureau.
The bilateral labor agreement covers the following areas of cooperation between the two countries: (a) regulation on the deployment of Filipino health care professionals; (b) preservation, promotion, and development of Filipino workers’ welfare; (c) exchange of ideas and information with the aim of improving amd simplifying job placement procedures; and (d) other relevant technical and HRD cooperation and continuing studies in labor and employment.
Under the agreement, each party undertakes to ensure that the recruitment and deployment of Filipino health care professionals are in accordance with existing laws of each country; that Filipino health care professionals to be deployed have appropriate employment contracts; and that they are provided with proper briefing or orientation before departure.
The agreement provides that Filipino health care professionals may not be employed in Germany under working conditions less favorable than those for comparable German workers. They will also have compulsory insurance in the German social security system, such as health and long-term care insurance, pension, accident, and unemployment insurance. German employers must also provide them adequate accommodation.
“There will be a standard bilingual labor employment contract to be used for the placement of Filipino health care professionals. Both parties will exert efforts to ensure observance of the workers’ rights,” Baldoz elaborated.
She further explained that both parties to the agreement will explore projects to sustain and promote HRD in the Philippines.
“While the bilateral labor agreement establishes the conditions for the recruitment and employment of Filipino health care professionals, including nurses, to Germany to address the shortage of health care workers in that country, the provisions on recognition of qualifications and mechanisms to ensure the sustainability of trained and qualified health care professionals in the Philippines through HRD cooperation are very important given the concerns of the Philippine health sector on their active migration,” Baldoz emphasized.
“We have to ensure that the migration of our workers takes place under an ethical recruitment framework that benefits the sending and receiving country,” she further said.