SSS extends deadline for filing of sickness notification, benefit claims amid COVID-19 threat
Robie de Guzman • March 28, 2020 • 1829
MANILA, Philippines – The Social Security System (SSS) on Friday said it has temporarily extended the deadline for the filing of sickness notifications and sickness benefit claims amid the threat of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
In an advisory, the SSS said this is for contingencies starting March 1 to April 30 in view of the national state of calamity declared by the government due to COVID-19.
SSS President and CEO Aurora Ignacio said the initiative aims to help its members and employers avoid penalties of late filing amid the COVID-19 crisis.
The SSS said that under the extended deadline for sickness notifications of home confinement, employed members may submit their sickness notification forms to their employers within 60 calendar days after the end of their confinement.
Employers, on the other hand, will also have 60 calendar days after receipt of the said forms to file to the SSS.
For members who are self-employed, voluntary members and overseas Filipino workers (OFW), they are likewise given 60 calendar days after the end of their confinement to file their forms to the agency.
“Sickness benefit claims shall not be reduced or denied if the deadline of the filing period falls between March 1 until April 30 for home and hospital confinement of employed members,” the SSS said.
Employers, and self-employed, voluntary members and OFWs may still file their sickness reimbursement claims until June 30, 2020, the SSS added.
Prior to the extension, the filing of sickness notification for employed members is within five calendar days after the start of their confinement, and another five calendar days for employers to submit their employee’s application to SSS.
The same rule applies for self-employed, voluntary members and OFW members, although the latter is given a 30-day grace period for submission given the location of their employment abroad.
“We understand the situation that our members are currently experiencing due to this public health crisis. As part of our mandate in providing meaningful social security protection in times of contingencies, we have adopted a flexible schedule to accommodate their sickness benefit claims,” Ignacio said in a statement.
Parties for all offices under the Quezon City government during the holidays will no longer be held this year amid the continuing novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte said Tuesday.
A statement released on Tuesday said Belmonte has issued a memorandum directing all offices under the city hall to cancel parties scheduled in December and instead ordered them to donate the funds to underprivileged groups.
“The money that would have been spent on office Christmas parties would do more good as donations to the underprivileged during this extraordinarily difficult time in our nation’s history,” Belmonte said in a statement.
The local chief executive stressed that “it would be inappropriate for offices of the city government to hold customary Christmas parties while many of its citizens are experiencing hardships due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.”
Instead of holding parties, she urged city hall employees to adopt an underprivileged sector— such as the urban poor, displaced workers, jeepney drivers, street vendors, indigent children, and poor senior citizens— and to modestly celebrate the season in their homes.
MANILA, Philippines – The province of Batanes on Tuesday said it has recorded its first case of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) since the pandemic started early this year.
According to Batanes Governor Marilou Cayco, the province reported its first COVID-19 case after a 29-year old resident who returned on Sept. 22 tested positive for the virus.
He has a travel history in Santa Rosa, Laguna. He returned to the province on board a Philippine Air Force plane with 18 others.
Cayco said the patient is asymptomatic and currently under isolation and monitoring of the provincial COVID-19 task force.
She added that all 18 individuals who had close contact with the patient have been subjected to swab test and are now strictly being monitored.
Batanes is currently under a modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) but the local government will recommend to place the province under a two-week GCQ to curb the spread of coronavirus disease.
Cayco said outpost checkpoints will also be set up in all municipalities to monitor and limit the movement of people.
Airport operations and commercial flights to and from the province will also be suspended.
“Medivac lang ang pwedeng pumunta dito in some emergency cases. Pero yung commercial flights pina-stop muna namin,” she said.
The local government reminds residents to follow health protocols such as the wearing of face masks and face shields and observe physical distancing. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Dan Gersalia)
The Department of Health (DOH) will allow private companies to implement lockdown in their offices or health care facilities to prevent coronavirus disease (COVID-19) exposure.
DOH Spokesperson Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire said aside from the minimum health protocols, private companies should also consider the mental health of their employees if they will implement a lockdown.
“For example may mga ibang ospital (For example, there are hospitals) that would rather have their employees stay with them, they have their dormitory. Wala munang uuwi dito muna kasi kapag umuwi kayo sa community you go back at nadadala niyo ang mga impeksyon dito (No one will go home yet because, once you go home to your community and you come back, you might bring the infection here),“ she said.
According to the Health Department, the duration of the lockdown will depend on the agreement between the company and its employees. She also reminded employees that they can also decline being put into lockdown.
“Hindi naman dapat pumayag din ang isang employee kung iyan ay labag sa kaniya. Mayroon naman silang ganoong karapatan kailangan lang po na naipapaliwang ng maayos (Employees don’t need to agree if they don’t want to. They have the right to do so. Things must be explained properly),” Vergeire added.
The health official also reminded private companies to make sure that their employees understand the reason behind the lockdown, taking into account the difficulty of being away from their families especially during the pandemic.
Vergeire also said employees should also be able to talk to experts with regards to their mental health.
“It is okay not to be okay especially at this time during our situation in the pandemic. Okay lang po iyan lahat tayo nakakaramdam ng ganiyan (That’s okay, we all feel that). We just have to have that coping mechanism,” she said. AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)
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