Teachers: Suspend 'no work, no pay' in schools during 'health break'

Jaehwa Bernardo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 17 2022 02:17 PM | Updated as of Jan 17 2022 02:37 PM

A teacher gives instruction behind a plastic barrier during the first day of limited face-to-face classes at the Longos Elementary School in Barangay Pangapisan in Alaminos City, Pangasinan on November 15, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
A teacher gives instruction behind a plastic barrier during the first day of limited face-to-face classes at the Longos Elementary School in Barangay Pangapisan in Alaminos City, Pangasinan on November 15, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — A teachers' group on Monday urged the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to suspend the implementation of the "no work, no pay" policy in schools, which recently declared "health breaks" due to rising COVID-19 cases.

Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Private Schools Secretary General Jonathan Geronimo said his group supported the health breaks but stressed that many school personnel, such as probationary teachers and contractual workers, would face "huge" salary cuts due to the "no work, no pay" policy.

"It is crucial that the employees are given the assurance that they will continue to be compensated even during the said break, given that the majority suffers from reduced workloads and a paycheck system that heavily depends on their rendered reporting hours," Geronimo said in a statement.

ACT Private Schools has sent a letter to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, appealing for the policy's suspension, Geronimo told ABS-CBN News.

Geronimo said the salary cuts may affect teachers' ability to afford food, medicine and medical services.

He added that private schools would not incur losses if they pay contractual employees during the health breaks "because school fees are computed and paid at semester or yearly rates."

The DOLE has yet to comment on ACT Private Schools' request.

Some local offices of the Department of Education have suspended classes in public schools from Jan. 17 onwards due to a resurgence in COVID-19 cases.

Several private schools and higher education institutions also declared similar weeklong health breaks, which would allow teachers and students to recover from COVID-19 or care for their loved ones who were infected with the virus.

In recent weeks, the Philippines has been reporting record-high daily COVID-19 infections, the latest at 39,004 last Saturday.

As of Sunday, the country has recorded a total of 3,205,396 COVID-19 infections, of which 287,856 are active cases.

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