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Wesleyan University Philippines vs. Wesleyan University-Philippines Faculty and Staff Assoc.

G.R. no. 181806


March 12, 2014
Del Castillo, J.
Facts:
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December 2003: Wesleyan University-Philippines (petitioner) and Wesleyan UniversityPhilippines Faculty and Staff Association (respondent) entered into a 5-year CBA effective June
1, 2003 to May 31, 2008.
August 16, 2005: Petitioner, through its president (Atty. Maglaya), issued a memorandum
providing guidelines on the employees vacation leave and sick leave.
o It provided for a month-to-month basis, therefore limiting the available leave credits of an
employee at the start of the school year. (For example, by the end of September, there
will only be a total of 5 (days of) credited sick leave and vacation leave.)
o Also, it provided that only the vacation leave is commuted or monetized to cash and is
effected only after the second year of continuous service of an employee.
August 25, 2005: respondents president (Cynthia de Lara) wrote a letter to Atty. Maglaya
informing him that said memorandum is against their CBA.
o CBA: all covered employees are entitled to 15 days sick leave and 15 days vacation leave
with pay every year and that after the second year, all unused vacation leave shall be
converted to cash and paid to the employee at the end of each school year.
February 8, 2006: a Labor Management Committee was held in which petitioner advised
respondent to file a grievance complaint regarding the implementation of the memorandum and at
the same time announced that it would be adopting a one-retirement policy, which the
respondents contested.
o Respondents: there has already been an established practice of giving two-retirement
benefits; one from the Private Education Retirement Annuity Association (PERAA) and
the other from the CBA Retirement Plan.
Voluntary Arbitrator: found for respondents; declared the August memorandum and the oneretirement plan contrary to law.
CA: Affirmed the VA.

Hence, this petition.


Issues/held:
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The non-diminution rule of Art. 100 of the LC explicitly prohibits employers from eliminating or
reducing the benefits received by their employees. This rule, however, applies only if the benefit is
based on an express policy, a written contract, or has ripened into practice.
o To be considered a practice, it must be consistently and deliberately made by the
employer over a long period of time.
o EXC: when the practice is due to error in the construction or application of a doubtful or
difficult question of law.
The error, however, must be corrected immediately after its discovery; otherwise,
the rule on Non-diminution would still apply.

Case at hand: respondents were able to substantiate their claim that it has been an established
practice for the petitioner to give two-retirement benefits, which they have been doing since
1997.
o Petitioner failed to refute the evidence.
o Respondents affidavits (which came from retired employees who have already benefitted
from the two-retirement benefits) cannot be considered as self-serving; theyre already
retired and have received their benefitshence, they have no reason to perjure
themselves.
o Petitioners assertion that the PERAA plan and the CBA retirement plan are one and the
same cannot hold water;
Nothing in the CBA indicates that the plan written in it is the same as that of the
PERAA plan;
Again, any doubts on the CBA should be construed in favor of the respondents;
Also, this contention of the petitioner is negated by its own announcement that it
would adopt a one-retirement plan. If the two were really one and the same, then
there was no need for such announcement.
Also, there was the letter-memorandum prepared by the petitioners legal counsel
entitled Suggestions on the defenses we can introduce to justify the abolition of
double-retirement policy.
o Petitioners (last-ditch) contention that such practice was illegal or unauthorized is
unsubstantiated and hence, invalid.
August memorandum is also contrary to the existing CBA.
o Memorandum: vacation leaves and sick leaves are not automatic and would be earned
only on month-to-month basis, contrary to the CBA stipulations (stipulated supra).
Considering that it imposes a limitation not agreed upon by the parties nor stated in the
CBA, it must be struck down.
o When the provision of the CBA is clear, leaving no doubt on the intention of the parties,
the literal meaning of the stipulation shall govern.
Any doubts as to its interpretation shall be resolved in favor of labor.

Petition denied, judgment and resolution Affirmed.