Group bats for quarantine leave hazard pay for workers

A labor group on Tuesday pushed for a paid quarantine leave hazard pay for private and public sector workers particularly those quarantined or infected by the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) while performing their jobs.

There is an urgent emerging need for government policy regulation for government and private business to provide a devoted and additional across-the-board cash compensation benefit unique only for all frontline employees who are in the first and secondary exposed directly or indirectly to the risk of infection to the dangerous nCoV virus, Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) president Raymond Mendoza said in a statement.

Under the existing quarantine policy, any person who may be directly or indirectly exposed to animals, humans, and facilities suspected to have acquired the 2019-nCoV will have to be quarantined for 14 days.

It added that the quarantine may be done in a quarantine facility or outside of the facility but the person reports to health officials twice a day for two weeks.

Mendoza said it is the right time to issue a policy regulation must come from the Civil Service Commission (CSC) for government employees and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) for private business employees addressing this compensation gap.

Among the workers who should be covered by such compensation are those working at the country's air and seaports such cabin crew, flight attendants, pilots, immigration, airport security and maintenance, customs, check-in counter, bag handlers, ground crew personnel, and seamen and porters.

He added that these employees are in imminent hazard working under extraordinary circumstances that the ordinary and established paid leave of absences such as sick and paid leave of absences such as sick and vacation leaves are separate and distinct.

He also identified professional doctors, nurses, medical health practitioners, cleaners, security guards in private and government-owned and operated hospitals and quarantine facilities, hotels, and restaurant employees are at risk of exposure to the deadly virus.

There were reports that the cost of anti-biotic medicines, face masks, and hospital and professional fees were charged to the employees quarantined Government must ensure that employees don't have to bear the economic burden of being quarantined performing their job, he added.

Mendoza reminded employers that workers in the private sector have the right to refuse unsafe work, citing Section 6 of the Republic Act 11058 of 2018 or the Act Strengthening Compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Standards.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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