DOLE says firms only urged, not mandated to give paid quarantine leaves

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 20 2022 05:42 PM

MANILA - The Department of Labor and Employment clarified that it is merely appealing and not mandating employers to give paid leaves to workers who need to undergo quarantine.

"Uulitin po namin: Ang pagbibigay ng paid isolation o quarantine leave ay hindi mandatory," Labor Undersecretary Benjo Benavidez said in a public briefing.

(We reiterate that giving paid isolation or quarantine leaves are not mandatory.)

"Hinihikayat po natin ang mga negosyante kung sila po ay may kakayanan din naman eh magbigay na ng dagdag na leave benefit sa pamamagitan ng isang paid isolation o kaya naman ay quarantine leave,” he explained

(We are encouraging employers who can do it to give additional leave benefit through paid isolation or quarantine leave.)

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello earlier issued an advisory on the matter as the labor department noted the no work, no pay policy of many companies. 

People infected with COVID-19 have to undergo quarantine and isolation depending on the severity of the symptoms.

“So, kapag lumiban sa trabaho dahil kailangang mag-isolate o kaya mag-quarantine, walang sahod unless mayroon pong accrued leave. Eh, iyong accrued leave naman po kung minsan ay ubos o kaya hindi sapat kaya wala po talagang sasahurin iyong manggagawa," he noted. 

(So if someone is absent because they need to isolate or go under quarantine, it is unpaid unless they have accrued leave. But sometimes their leave credits have already been used up so the worker is left with nothing.)

"Kaya napag-isipan ng aming Kalihim na hikayatin iyong mga kompanya na magbigay pa ng karagdagang paid leave."

(This is why our secretary encouraged companies to give additional leave credits.)

The labor official, however, said that even prior to the labor advisory, many employers have been granting additional leaves to their COVID-stricken or exposed workers, allowing them to continue to receive their wages even while they are under isolation or quarantine.

“Wala naman po kaming narinig na objection sa mga employer maliit man o malaki,” he added.

(We did not hear any objections from employers, big or small.)

He also clarified that workers in the private sector are entitled to several COVID-19 benefits under the law from PhilHealth and SSS

"At sa Department of Labor and Employment naman po sa pamamagitan po ng Employees Compensation Commission (ECC), nagbibigay-tulong po tayo sa pamamagitan ng cash assistance – isa po itong grant in the amount of 10,000 pesos, although may proposal po ito, subject to final approval na gawing P30,000,” he added.

(In DOLE, this is possible through the ECC. We give aid through cash assistance worth P10,000. There is also a proposal to make this to P30,000 subject to final approval.)

Aside from cash assistance, workers can also avail of medical reimbursement.

Virus hotspot Metro Manila is under COVID-19 Alert Level 3 until the end of the month, amid the spike of new infections.

On Thursday, Philippines confirmed over 31,000 fresh COVID-19 cases, pushing active infections to more than 275,000. 

-- Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News

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