Private sector to begin vaccination of employees vs. COVID-19 in June

Marje Pelayo   •   May 20, 2021   •   464

MANILA, Philippines — Around 100 private companies will first receive the initial 1.3 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine expected to arrive on the third week of June 2021.

Go Negosyo Founder and Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion said the private sector will immediately start its vaccination program for employees next month.

“Over 200 service providers who will do the inoculation for the mga empleyado namin,” said Conception.

If an employee is already vaccinated through their local government units, it’s up to the employer if it could be extended to their families.

“It’s up to them kung gusto nila ibigay sa pamilya ng empleyado ok rin iyon. Pero ang mga rules noon sa kanila na yan kasi binili naman nila yung mga bakuna na ito,” he added.

Meanwhile, the employers’ group said that there are companies that probably ordered excess vaccines to include the families of their employees and extend even to their clients.

“I think it will depend on the company’s situation and policy. There might be cases where the company committed to their clients to give them vaccines not used by their employees. Many companies probably ordered excess to include the families of employees,” explained Sergio Luis-Ortiz Jr., president of the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP).

Concepcion said that around 17 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine are expected to arrive from June to December this year.

Around six million is for the private sector and 11 million for local government units.

Concepcion underscored the importance of vaccination, especially in Metro Manila.

“Kung makamit natin ang herd immunity sa NCR Plus, siyempre maluluwagan itong ekonomiya natin. So mas maraming industries na ang pwedeng buksan,” he said.

Concepcion said that 500 companies bought vaccines for their employees.

Meanwhile, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force against COVID -19 is yet to discuss whether or not it will allow companies to charge relatives of employees who want to get inoculated under the company’s vaccination program.

“Pag-uusapan po natin yan kasi. Bagaman ang intensyon ay kumbaga cost reimbursement ay kinakailangang pagusapan po yan at linawin dahil ayaw nating magkaroon ng impresyon na binebenta po ang ating mga bakuna dahil hindi po dapat ibenta dahil wala pa pong commercial use authorization ang ating mga bakuna,” Roque said. 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.

PH gov’t simplifies rules for COVID-19 vaccination

Robie de Guzman   •   January 14, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government has simplified the requirements for COVID-19 vaccination to encourage more Filipinos to get inoculated amid rising cases of coronavirus infections.

In a press briefing, acting presidential spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said walk-ins are now allowed at vaccination sites.

 “Hindi na rin po kailangan bilang health screening ang pag-monitor sa blood pressure, unless ang babakunahan ay may history ng hypertension o may sintomas ng hypertension at iba pang konsiderasyon na nakabase sa clinical judgement ng doktor sa vaccination site,” he said.

“Hindi na rin kayo hihingan ng medical clearance at certification para mabakunahan,” he added.

Nograles said medical clearance and certification will only be required for individuals with auto-immune disease, HIV, cancer/malignancy, patients undergoing steroid treatment, and patients with poor prognosis or bedridden.

“May mga bakuna, mas maluwag na po ang requirements para dito, kaya ‘wag na po tayong magdalawang-isip, magpabakuna na po tayo,” Nograles said, addressing the public.

“Luluwag ang ating mga ospital at dadami ang mga bakanteng kama kung marami ang protektado sa malubhang sakit dala ng COVID-19. Let’s help our frontliners and let’s help ourselves by getting vaccinated,” he added.

The Philippines is facing a surge in COVID-19 cases, with 37, 207 infections recorded on Friday, January 14. This is the highest ever single-day tally of cases in the country since the pandemic started in 2020.

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