Grant extra leaves amid coronavirus rise, DOLE urges employers

Angel Movido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 09 2020 03:39 PM | Updated as of Mar 09 2020 03:52 PM

MANILA - The Department of Labor and Employment is urging all employers in the country to provide extra leaves for employees following the local outbreak of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Employers should consider an additional 14-day leave-with-pay for their workers, aside from sick and vacation leaves, especially if exposure to COVID-19 happened in the employee’s line of work, Marcos Valeros of DOLE’s Bureau of Working Conditions said.

“Empleyado nag-travel sa lugar, kung mga kaso na 'yun ay dala ng trabaho, dapat maging bahagi 'yun ng with pay. Hindi ibabawas sa leave credits kasi ang workers nag-perform sang-ayon sa inuutos ng kanyang employer,” Valeros said during a forum in Manila.

(Employees who travel to other places due to work and get exposed to the virus should be given leaves with pay. That shouldn't be deducted from their leave credits, since they were exposed during work.)

Workers who travel from places with confirmed cases of the virus are required by health authorities to undergo a 14-day quarantine upon arrival in their destination.

While DOLE has yet to draft the additional guidelines for workplaces found with suspected cases of COVID-19, Valeros said he leaves it to the discretion of employers to temporarily suspend work for their workers. 

The labor official also recommended frequent disinfection of workplaces, whether they were exposed to COVID-19 or not.

Earlier Monday, President Rodrigo Duterte placed the Philippines under a state of public health emergency to prevent the COVID-19 infections, after authorities confirmed local transmissions of the disease.

The President's declaration shall remain in effect until he lifts or withdraws it.

In the past 5 days, the Philippine health ministry confirmed 7 cases of COVID-19 over the weekend, bringing the country's total to 10.