Covid-19-infected workers can now claim benefits

(Photo by Macky Lim)

WORKERS who will be infected with the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) while in the performance of their duties are now eligible to claim for benefits under the Employees Compensation Commission (ECC).

ECC in Davao Region (ECC-Davao) information officer Albert Bantan said the Commission recently considered Covid-19 for their sickness benefit programs.

He explained that under ECC’s Temporary Total Disability Benefit, a worker can claim up to P480 per day of absence from work due to work-related disease including Covid-19, a permanent pension if declared permanently disabled, or more than P30,000 lifetime pension for the family left behind if the person died due to the virus.

“If a worker dies due to an accident or sickness like Covid-19, the surviving family will be granted an increased amount of EC (Employees Compensation) funeral at P30,000 plus lifetime pension for the spouse and a separate pension for a maximum of five children below 21 years old,” he said.

“[The people eligible to claim are] frontliners and other workers na ma-prove nila na sa work sila na-infect,” he added.

However, he also clarified that only those workers with an employer-to-employee (EE) relationship are covered in the program.

He said the agency is currently working on the implementation of their new directive to cover workers without EE.

“Although naa natay IRR (implementing rules and regulation) na pwede na nato i-cover tong mga walay EE relationship, dili pa nato officially ma-implement kay ginaayos pa karun ang IT matters sa SSS (Social Security System) para ma-cater na ang enrolment sa mga matawag na self-employed or voluntary members,” he said.

He said although the guidelines were released last week, those who were infected by the Covid-19 last year can still avail of the benefits.

Bantan bared that while there are still companies who fail to pay the EC premiums of their employees, the workers can still claim the benefits from the SSS.

“We presume that all employers are paying for EC premiums for their employees kay automatic naman gud ang payment sa EC sabay ang pagbayad nila sa SSS contribution (because that is already included in the SSS contribution),” he said.

“Dili nato ma-deny nga naay pipila ka mga establishments nga delinquent sa pagbayad but despite that dili ma-impair ang benepisyo sa empleyado (We cannot deny that there are establishments who are not paying for EC but the employees can still avail of the benefits),” he added.

He said companies may face charges like large-scale estafa for failure to pay the EC premium of their employees.

“[That is] if proven that they deducted a portion from the salary of employees for SSS contribution but failed to remit the same,” he said.

“As to the failure to pay EC contribution, atong remedy kay sila ang pabayarun sa amount due para sa EC claimant plus pabayaran sa ila tong amount na wala nila na-remit (the remedy is to compel the company to pay the benefits due for the employee and the amount that was supposed to be remitted),” Bantan added.

The ECC is an attached agency of the Department of Labor and Employment.


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