Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion has expressed support to the call of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on private sector employers to provide more paid leave benefits for their workers affected by COVID-19.
In a statement, Concepcion commended DOLE’s initiative, saying it “directly addresses some concerns of our workers, especially this pandemic.”
Conception was referring to Labor Advisory No. 1 issued by DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III, which calls on employers to allow their workers who are classified as close contact, suspect, probable, or confirmed case of COVID-19 to complete home isolation or facility-based quarantine.
The said paid isolation or quarantine leave for workers is separate from their regular leave benefits, according to Bello.
Concepcion, however, proposed that the private sector must shoulder only half of the paid isolation and quarantine leave program for the employees as many businesses are still struggling to recover from the effects of the pandemic.
“In times like this, we in business are not doing well. Some who are doing well will consider this but let’s be flexible those who cannot. But those who can even support with half, that would be a great help,” he said.
Nevertheless, Concepcion said the intention of DOLE’s order is “commendable” and should be supported by the business sector as this will provide workers with peace of mind while they undergo quarantine.
“The main concern of our workers is they won’t be paid their salary when they undergo quarantine. Bello’s order would allay that worry as they are now assured of their daily wage while in isolation,” Concepcion said.
It will also encourage workers to declare the true state of their health as they won’t have to worry about lost wages while in quarantine.
“Sad so say, some workers don’t divulge to their employers they experience COVID-related symptoms as they are more worried about losing part of their income. This order, if implemented by private sector employers, would also help quell the spread of COVID-19 among our workforce,” Concepcion said.
The official then appealed to the private sector to heed DOLE’s call for the sake of the workers, who are also risking their lives to keep the economy going amid the pandemic.
Bello earlier said that not all establishments are expected to follow the advisory as most of the firms, especially the micros and small enterprises, will not be able to afford the arrangement.