BACOLOD

Paid quarantine leave benefits for workers pushed

A LABOR leader is pushing for paid quarantine benefits for workers amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Roland de la Cruz of the National Congress of Unions in the Sugar Industry of the Philippines (Nacusip) said Covid-19 as a compensable occupational and work-related disease is not enough.

De la Cruz, who is based in the province, said as the Employees Compensation Commission (ECC), through its Board Resolution 21-04-14 dated April 6, 2021, declared the compensability of Covid-19 as an occupational and work-related disease, many Filipino workers continue to suffer the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic especially those who are not declared positive but have to undergo isolation and quarantine for 14 days as a required by health protocols.

Most of these workers who were exposed to Covid-19 and forced to undergo isolation and quarantine for 14 days were on a No Work No Pay setup unless there are favorable company policy or collective bargaining agreement beneficial to the affected workers, De la Cruz said.

“We just cannot sit down and watch thousands of Filipino workers who are on quarantine with no income to sustain their families, they need the same income protection and assurance from the government,” De la Cruz said.

The House of Representatives passed House Bill 7909 or the Paid Pandemic Leave Law of 2020, which provides 14-day paid quarantine leave for workers who are confirmed, probable or suspected to have the Covid-19 virus, in short, those who are isolated and quarantined because of exposure to a confirmed Covid-19 positive individual. However, this house bill is not yet certified urgent.

Another venue to push for passage of this policy is through the National Tripartite Industrial Peace Council or the NTIPC of the Department of Labor and Employment.

"We need to provide full security of jobs and income protection to our workers who are suffering the adverse economic brunt of this Covid-19 pandemic, whether they are confirmed Covid-19 positive or not," De la Cruz added.


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