DOLE proposes P5,000 monthly incentive for private sector HCWs in 2022

Marje Pelayo   •   September 3, 2021   •   479

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is pushing for additional incentives for healthcare workers (HCWs) in the private sector.

DOLE wants a P5,000 monthly incentive for the HCWs which the department proposes for 2022.

Labor Assistant Secretary Nikki Tutay said the proposed incentive is in recognition of the sacrifices that HCWs are rendering in the private sector.

The official said DOLE’s current budget couldn’t afford to provide such a benefit to private HCWs. For this, it is asking Congress to include it in next year’s budget appropriation.

She noted that the government will need around P11 billion for such an incentive to be given to more or less 184,000 nurses. It will need an additional P25 billion to cover around 412,000 non-nursing or other workers in the healthcare sector.

“Baka kaya pa po naming maihirit through Congressional initiatives or special provision para man lang meron pong mailaan sa 2022 budget na additional incentives or allowance para ating mga healthcare workers in the private sector,” Tutay said.

DOLE believes the proposed incentive will be a big help to HCWs in the private sector who currently receive way lower than the basic pay of HCWs in public hospitals.

Also, it will somehow deter nurses and other healthcare workers to leave the country and look for jobs abroad.

This is also a reason why DOLE is not recommending the increase in deployment cap for healthcare workers.

“We came out with this proposed incentives po when we made a decision not to recommend the increase in the deployment cap,” Tutay noted.

“Malaking tulong din yan para maengganyo sila na mag stay din dito sa Pilipinas at hindi na pumunta sa abroad,” agreed Dr. Jose Rene de Grano, president of the Private Hospital Association of the Philippines Inc.

Based on the proposed 2022 National Budget, DOLE is 10th among agencies with the highest budget request for the year 2022. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Paid isolation, quarantine leave benefits for private sector workers should be voluntary – Duterte adviser

Robie de Guzman   •   January 19, 2022

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.

Labor dept asks employers to provide workers with paid isolation, quarantine leave benefits

Robie de Guzman   •   January 17, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Monday urged employers in the private sector to provide paid leave benefits to workers who have to undergo isolation or quarantine period due to COVID-19.

In a labor advisory, DOLE said this is to “ensure safe and humane working conditions” amid the rising cases of coronavirus in the country.

The labor department said employers in the private sector are encouraged to adopt and implement appropriate paid isolation and quarantine leave program, on top of the existing leave benefits under the company policy. Leave benefits under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Labor Code of the Philippines, and special laws should be separately applied.

“The paid isolation and quarantine leaves shall be without prejudice to other benefits provided by the Social Security System and the Employees Compensation Commission,” it added.

DOLE said its advisory applies to all establishments, employers, and their employees in the private sector.

Under the updated guidelines from the Department of Health, fully vaccinated COVID-19 patients who are asymptomatic or with mild symptoms need to isolate for seven days while those who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated need to complete the isolation period for 10 days.

The isolation period for moderate cases is 10 days while those with severe and critical symptoms, and immunocompromised would have to isolate for 21 days.

The quarantine period for fully vaccinated asymptomatic close contacts has been shortened to five days.

Isolation is for individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 while quarantine is for those who have been exposed and can possibly develop an infection.

DOLE partners with PGH to manage OFW hospital

Robie de Guzman   •   January 17, 2022

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said it has tapped the Philippine General Hospital to help manage the clinical services of the country’s first hospital for overseas Filipino workers (OFW).

In a statement, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed between DOLE and the PGH last Friday at the nearly completed OFW Hospital in San Fernando, Pampanga,

Bello expressed optimism over the partnership, saying “the expertise of the government’s top medical institution will add quality to the service and prestige to the name of the facility meant to provide the health requirements of OFWs.”

“In serving the health needs of our modern-day heroes, we need the champion in saving lives. Thank you PGH for helping us,” Bello added.

Under the MOU, PGH will be helping the OFW Hospital in the training of clinical and administrative personnel, planning and acquisition of hospital equipment, and formulation of clinical and fiscal process flow.

It will also guide the hospital in the creation of electronic medical records and hospital information systems, and planning of infrastructure layout in relation to clinical services.

Aside from PGH, DOLE said the Philippine Amusement Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), Bloomberry Cultural Foundation Incorporated (BCFI), and the Pampanga Provincial Government also helped in constructing the 100-bed hospital building.

The construction of the OFW hospital is scheduled to be finished in March this year, it added.

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