Malacañang asks private sector to adopt alternative work arrangements

Marje Pelayo   •   June 2, 2020   •   653

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang has appealed to the private sector to adopt alternative work arrangements to help their employees as public transportation remains limited even when Metro Manila is placed under general community quarantine (GCQ).

On Monday (June 1), thousands of workers were caught stranded, some were forced to go back home because there were no available vehicles to ferry them to their workplaces. 

Malacañang suggests to private companies to adopt the 50% operational capacity in their workplaces and have the other 50% of their employees work from home. 

Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque explained that such work arrangement is effectively being adopted in the Executive Branch and this can be applied to the private sector as well. 

“Ang pakiusap po natin ay bagaman tayo ay GCQ na subukan pa rin nating mag-50-50, at least [Our appeal is to, at least, try the 50-50 work arrangement although we are already under GCQ],” Roque appealed to private companies.

“Hindi po talaga sapat ang transportasyon natin kung papasukin natin ang 100 percent ng ating workforce [Our transportation will not suffice if we will have a 100% workforce returning to their workplaces],” he added.

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade also asked private companies to provide their employees with shuttle service since they were requiring their workers to return to their workplaces. 

“Kailangan iyong mga employer ay mag-provide ng ways of communication and transportation kagaya ng shuttle bus [Employers should provide ways of communication and transportation such as shuttle buses],” he said. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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.

Private sector, nais bumili ng COVID-19 booster shots at investigational drug

Robie de Guzman   •   October 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Umapela sa pamahalaan ang grupo ng mga negosyante na payagan silang bumili ng COVID-19 vaccine booster shots at experimental oral anti-viral drug pill na mulnopiravir.

Ayon kay Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion, naniniwala ang mga negosyante na mas mapapabilis ang pagbangon ng ekonomiya ng bansa kung magiging maagap ang pamahalaan.

“Pero hindi pa lumalabas yung mga pills eh pero siyempre kailangang maglagay sila ng order dito. So, all of those are going to be done—boosters, itong mga bakuna na kailangan nating tuloy-tuloy ito,” ani Concepcion.

Para lalo pang mapalawak at mapabilis ang isinasagawang vaccination roll out ng pamahalaan, iminumungkahi rin ng private sector ang pagpapatupad ng “vax to the max.”

Sa ilalim ng panukala, bubuksan na ang pagbabakuna sa lahat ng mga nais na tumanggap nito at hindi na ikokonsidera ang priority list.

Sa kasalukuyang vaccination framework, ang mga nasa priority groups lang muna ang bibigyan ng bakuna laban sa COVID-19. Ito ay ang mga healthcare worker, senior citizen, persons with co-morbidities, essential workers, at indigent.

Sa ngayon ay nagsasagawa na ang pamahalaan ng pilot vaccination para sa mga batang may edad 12 hanggang 17 pero prayoridad ang mga may co-morbidity.

Ngayong Oktubre naman planong ilunsad ang COVID-19 vaccination para sa general adult population.

Ayon kay vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr., nais ngayon ng pamahalaan na itaas sa 1.5 million ang daily vaccination target sa gitna na rin ng patuloy na pagdating ng mga supply ng bakuna sa bansa.

“Kumbaga sa ano hindi na po sequential iwa-widen na po natin yung tinatawag natin yung sinasabi n’yo nga po na kung sino yung gusto magpa-vaccine ay magpabakuna na po,” ani Galvez.

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