In a landmark move, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) management has renewed its commitment with its employees’ union for the institutionalization of progressive workplace benefits.

The DENR and the Kalipunan ng mga Kawani sa Kagawaran ng Kalikasan (K4)—the national governing body of all the DENR employee associations and unions nationwide—signed on June 7 the collective negotiation agreement (CNA) for 2022-2025, highlighting additional privileges for the workers.

In his speech during the CNA signing, Acting Secretary Jim O. Sampulna said the DENR management recognizes the hard work and rights of its employees.

“The CNA signing is a way of thanking and recognizing the hard work of all the rank-and-file employees of the DENR,” Sampulna said in his message delivered by Undersecretary for Legal, Administration, Human Resources and Legislative Affairs Ernesto D. Adobo Jr.

The three-year agreement includes gender-fair and gender-inclusive workplace measures, such as construction of all-gender comfort rooms and use of uniform consistent with the employees’ sexual orientation and gender identity. Using gender-neutral language and conducting training on gender sensitivity and fair language are also included in the CNA to support gender and development.

Meanwhile, alternative work arrangements for pregnant women, senior citizens, and persons undergoing medical treatment for cancer or other life-threatening diseases are also among the benefits provided in the agreement.

Other new conditions are the establishment of spiritual rooms or spaces, lactation stations, and affiliate union offices. The provision of review sessions for civil service and career executive service eligibility, assistance in healthcare programs, and establishment of health and wellness programs in all regional offices are also part of the CNA package.

“We enter into this agreement to safeguard our employees. Their rights and welfare are also a priority that deserve protection and promotion,” Sampulna said.

The CNA renegotiation between the DENR negotiating team and its employees’ unions was done in May 2022, when the 2019-2022 agreement lapsed.

The signing of the agreement was part of the “Gabi ng Parangal at Pagpupugay” of the Leadership and Environmental Sustainability Summit held in celebration of the Environment Month and the DENR 35th founding anniversary in Iloilo City. ###