In line with the gradual resumption of work in Metro Manila as quarantine restrictions ease, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) issued an advisory on May 18 announcing that employers are tasked to cover the costs of COVID-19 prevention and control measures for their employees.
According to the department, this includes paying for COVID-19 tests of their employees. This also applies to all employers, including contractors and sub-contractors in the private sector.
On May 17, Department of Health (DOH) undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that returning workers are not required to undergo COVID-19 testing as per the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases’ (IATF-EID) resolution. DOLE emphasizes that this is not inconsistent with their latest advisory, as testing isn’t required for an employee’s return to work.
Other COVID-19 prevention and control measures including disinfection facilities, purchasing hand sanitizers and personal protective equipment and giving proper orientation and training regarding COVID-19 prevention and control measures should also be paid for by employers.
In the case of contracts for construction projects, security and janitorial services, the cost of COVID-19 prevention and control measures shall be covered by the principals or clients of the service contractor.
“No costs related or incidental to COVID-19 prevention and control measures shall be charged directly or indirectly to workers,” says DOLE in the advisory.
DOLE regional offices shall also provide appropriate assistance to all employers, contractors and subcontractors regarding the COVID-19 workplace prevention and control measures that they, DOH, the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Public Works and Highway issued.
Currently, Metro Manila is placed under modified enhanced community quarantine which allows several businesses to resume operations, given that only 50 percent of its workforce will be on-site. In addition to social distancing, conducting daily temperature checks and monitoring symptoms of all staff who report to work are also part of the infection control procedures in DOH’s guidelines.
Header photo via Inquirer.net
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Writer: YANN MAGCAMIT