MANILA - Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Wednesday pushed for a bill that would protect private employers from being sued by workers who would contract the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) while on duty.
Under Sotto's Senate Bill No. 1515, private businesses that were allowed to operate during the COVID-19 crisis shall not be liable for "any claims made by employees" who were infected with the virus while working.
"Small and mid-size enterprises (SMEs) will greatly benefit in this law," the Senate President said in statement.
"This will prevent the further depletion of their already exhausted resources in defending themselves against labor lawsuits in relation to COVID-19 infection of their workers," he said.
The bill is "in line with the government's policy to encourage private enterprises and support businesses" during the global pandemic, which has affected economies worldwide, he said.
Sotto clarified that the bill does not provide an "absolute blanket shield from any liability" as employers can still be sued for criminal acts.
Employers will also have to adhere to safety protocols mandated by the government to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in workplaces, he said.