Bello: DOLE, employers to discuss hazard pay for workers amid COVID-19 crisis

Vivienne Gulla, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 24 2020 09:38 PM

MANILA - The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) will discuss with employers and other concerned sectors the possibility of hazard pay for workers in the private sector during the ongoing coronavirus diseases 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said Tuesday.

“Tingnan natin muna kung ano ang capacity ng ating mga employer...the tripartite group will have to be consulted on that,” Bello said.

He said they were also waiting for the enactment into law of Senate Bill 1418 which grants President Rodrigo Duterte emergency powers to stop the COVID-19 spread, and also mandates hazard pay for all frontline health workers during the ongoing state of calamity in the country.

The bill was approved on third and final reading early Tuesday.

“As soon as we get a copy of that bill, we will be preparing the guidelines,” Bello said.

If the bill is passed into law, public health workers during the COVID-19 pandemic are also entitled to additional compensation on top of their usual hazard pay. The amount of the "special risk allowance" will depend on the law's implementing rules and regulations.

“Ensure that all public health workers are protected by providing them with a 'COVID-19 special risk allowance', in addition to the hazard pay granted under the Magna Carta of the Public Health Workers or Republic Act No. 7305,” the bill read.

Meanwhile, public and private health workers who will contract COVID-19 while on duty will be entitled to receive P100,000 from the government. If they die while fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, public and private medical practitioners will be given P1 million each, according to the bill.

The measure also mandates the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) to shoulder the hospitalization costs of all medical workers who will contract the disease.