MANILA - Detained Senator Leila de Lima has filed a measure seeking paid leaves for public and private employees who contract COVID-19 and need to undergo quarantine.
Under Senate Bill No. 2148 filed Wednesday, qualified employees are entitled to 10 working days of paid COVID-19 leave provided they submit the necessary medical records.
The paid leave protects the welfare of workers and their families, and ensures occupational safety and avoidance of infection in workplaces, De Lima said.
“Filipinos valiantly choose to work, to provide for their families and to save the economy, despite the danger this pandemic poses,” she said in a statement Sunday.
“Thus, it is only right that these employees be provided with the incentive of having paid leaves when they are confirmed to be COVID-19 positive and they need to undergo quarantine or isolation."
Unemployment rate rose to 8.8 percent in February from 8.7 percent in January, leaving an estimated 4.2 million jobless, the Philippine Statistics Authority had said.
“With the colossal and detrimental effects of the pandemic, employees are forced to stay in a job that is low paying despite health hazards due to the virus and consequences of contractualization,” De Lima said.
“Those who are gainfully employed, while fortunate, struggle to do their jobs by personally reporting to their workplace despite risk of acquiring the virus on the way to and from work and even in the workplace itself,” she added.
The Philippines, which has the longest lockdowns in the world, recorded a -9.6 percent economic growth last year, its first contraction since 1998's 0.5 percent decline due to the Asian financial crisis.
The economic downturn was also worse than the 7 percent contraction recorded in 1984, making it the steepest post-war slump in Philippine history, using available PSA data dating back to 1947.