Employers, not workers, should pay for mandatory COVID-19 tests: labor chief

Angela Coloma, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 23 2020 12:44 PM

MANILA - Employers should shoulder the cost of coronavirus testing of their workers if virus screening is required before they could return to their jobs amid easing pandemic restrictions, the country's labor chief said Saturday. 

"Hindi mo puwedeng pilitin pero if you want na ma-test sila eh di okay. Puwede silang magtest pero ikaw ang gumastos para sa testing nila," Bello said in the "Laging Handa" press briefing on state television. 

(You can't force employees to get tested. But if you want them to get tested it's okay. They can be tested but [employers] should pay for it.) 

Bello said this following complaints from workers who were supposedly required to spend for their coronavirus screening fees before reporting back to work. 

This as several businesses have been allowed to partially operate following lockdowns due to the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Bello reiterated that companies are not required to screen their workers for the disease, but added that employees should not shoulder the fees to get screened. 

Employees, particularly those in Metro Manila, have started trooping back to work as the government placed the metropolis under modified enhanced community quarantine, a move made to start opening up the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

Under the MECQ, businesses in certain sectors can operate at 50-percent capacity in physical facilities, with the rest working from home to prevent the spread of the disease.