18 May 2020 – DOLE presses job preservation; says cost of Covid control on employers

Published by NTUCPHL Date posted on May 21, 2020

The labor department is pushing for the preservation of employment by businesses and enterprises as the country slowly transitions into the new normal amid the global health pandemic.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III on Monday issued guidelines on how best employers can protect jobs, and prevent layoffs and retrenchments.

In a separate advisory, meanwhile, DOLE also said the cost of preventing the spread of COVID-19 in workplaces as provided for in its joint guidelines with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) should be shouldered by employers.

Labor Advisory No. 17 “highly encourages” work-from-home and telecommuting for employees in businesses and industries already allowed to resume operations under the modified enhanced community quarantine or general community quarantine.

It also spells out a menu of alternative work arrangements that employers may resort to in order to forestall further business reverses, while at the same time protecting jobs, preventing closures and termination of workers.

These alternative work schemes include:

  1. Transfer of employee to another branch;
  2. Assignment of employee to another function or position, in the same or another branch or outlet;
  3. Reduction of normal workdays or workhours;
  4. Job rotations;
  5. Partial closure of an establishment while some department or unit is continued; and
  6. Other schemes that is necessary or peculiar for the survival of a specific business or establishment.

The guidelines likewise strongly advise employers to employ various wage and benefits schemes necessary for the continuance of business and employment in coordination with their workers and in conjunction with agreed company policies and their respective collective bargaining agreements (CBAs); provided that the said adjustments in wage and benefits should not exceed six months, or the period mandated in their CBAs.

“We know that businesses have suffered so much, but for the sake of our economy we encourage them to dig deeper into their vast reserve of charity and benevolence so that their workers and the communities can continue to further weather this crisis that we are all facing and fighting together,” Bello said.

In instances when termination of employment becomes unavoidable, the advisory said emoluments for workers removed for cause should follow the provisions of existing laws.

The guidelines also required employers to submit reports to the DOLE field offices on the adaption of any, or all, of the provisions of the advisory.

Meanwhile, in Labor Advisory No. 18, DOLE said that the prevention and control of the COVID-19 virus in a specific work place, business, or industry shall be borne by the employer.

It emphasized that employers, contractors and subcontractors, or their principals, should shoulder expenses in the conduct of the following prevention and control measures: testing of employees; disinfection of facilities; provision of hand sanitizers; procurement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), such as facemasks; putting up of signages; the orientation and training of workers including the provision of IEC materials on COVID-19 prevention and control; and other measures necessary to fight and protect their workers and employees.

These minimum health standards are contained in the joint DOLE-DTI Interim Guidelines on Workplace Prevention and Control of COVID-19, dated April 30;

Department Order No. 35, dated May 3, 2020 on Construction Safety Guidelines for the Implementation of all DPWH Projects During the COVID-19 Public Health Crisis; and Department Memorandum No. 2020-0220, dated May 11, 2020, on the Interim Guidelines for the Return-To-Work, issued by the Department of Health (DOH).

For contractual workers; such as security guards, maintenance crews and janitorial workers the expenses shall be borne by the principal, or client, of the contractor or subcontractor. -###

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Pangangalaga sa trabaho nais ng DOLE; gastos sa COVID control, sagot ng employer

Itinutulak ng Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) ang pangangalaga ng trabaho sa mga negosyo habang dahan dahan ang transisyon ng bansa sa new normal sa gitna ng global health pandemic.

Nag-isyu ng panuntunan si Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III nitong Lunes, ukol sa kung paano mapoprotektahan ng mga employers ang trabaho, at maiwasan ang layoffs at retrenchments.

Sa isang hiwalay na abiso, sinabi ng DOLE na ang gastusin para maiwasan ang pagkalat ng COVID-19 sa mga workplaces na itinatakda sa joint guidelines ng Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) ay dapat na pasanin o sagutin ng mga employer.

Sa Labor Advisory No. 17 mahigpit na hinihikayat ang work-from-home at telecommuting para sa mga empleyado sa mga negosyo at industriya na pinayagan nang bumalik sa operasyon sa ilalim ng modified enhanced community quarantine o general community quarantine.

Nagtatakda rin ito ng mga panuntunan para sa alternative work arrangement na maaaring gawin ng mga employer upang maibsan ang pagkalugi habang pinoprotektahan ang trabaho at maiwasan ang pagsasara at pagtanggal sa mga manggagawa.

Kabilang sa mga alternatibong panuntunan sa trabaho ang:

  1. Paglipat sa manggagawa sa ibang branch;
  2. Pagtatalaga sa empleyado sa ibang tungkulin o posisyon, sa pareho o ibang branch o outlet;
  3. Pagbabawas ng normal workdays o workhours;
  4. Job rotations;
  5. Partial closure ng isang establisimento habang patuloy ang operasyon ng ibang departamento;
  6. At iba pang panuntunan na kinakailangan upang magpatuloy ang operasyon ng isang negosyo o establisimento.

Hinihikayat rin ng panuntunan ang mga employer na magpatupad ng iba’t ibang wage at benefit schemes na kinakailangan upang magpatuloy ang negosyo at trabaho sa pakikipagtulungan ng kanilang mga manggagawa at alinsunod sa polisiya ng kompanya at collective bargaining agreements (CBAs); kung saan dapat ang mga nasabing pagbabago sa suweldo at benepisyo ay hindi lalagpas ng anim na buwan, o sa panahong itinatakda ng kanilang CBA.

“Alam namin ang hirap na pinagdadaanan ng mga negosyo ngunit para sa ating ekonomiya ay hinihikayat namin silang gumawa ng ibang pamamaraan upang makatulong sa kanilang mga manggagawa at komunidad upang malagpasan ang krisis na ito na lahat tayo ay apektado at magkasamang lumalaban,” wika ni Bello.

Sa oras na hindi maiiwasan ang pagtanggal sa mga empleyado, sinabi ng advisory na dapat pa ring alinsunod sa umiiral na batas ang ibibigay na halaga sa mga manggagawang naalis sa serbisyo.

Dapat ring magsumite ang mga employer ng report sa mga DOLE field office kung mayroong mga hakbangin silang gagawin sa kumpanya na itinatakda ng mga probisyon ng advisory.

Samantala, sa Labor Advisory No. 18, sinabi ng DOLE na ang pag-iwas at pagkontrol sa COVID-19 virus sa isang work place, negosyo, o industriya ay dapat na magmula sa employer.

Binibigyang-diin nito na ang mga employer, contractor at subcontractor, o mga principal, ang siyang dapat pumasan ng mga gastusin para maipatupad ang mga sumusunod na hakbangin sa pag-iwas at pagkontrol: testing ng mga empleyado; disinfection sa mga pasilidad; probisyon ng hand sanitizer; pagbili ng mga Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), tulad na rin ng facemask; paglalagay ng mga signage; orientation at pagsasanay ng mga manggagawa kabilang ang probisyon ng IEC materials upang maiwasan at makontrol ang COVID-19; at iba pang mga hakbangin upang malabanan at maprotektahan ang kanilang mga empleyado.

Ang mga minimum health standards na ito na nakapaloob sa joint DOLE-DTI Interim Guidelines on Workplace Prevention and Control of COVID-19, noong Abril 30; Department Order No. 35, noong Mayo 3, 2020 on Construction Safety Guidelines for the Implementation of all DPWH Projects During the COVID-19 Public Health Crisis; at Department Memorandum No. 2020-0220, noong Mayo 11, 2020, on the Interim Guidelines for the Return-To-Work, na inisyu ng Department of Health (DOH).

Para sa mga kontraktuwal na manggagawa tulad ng mga security guards, maintenance crew at janitorial na empleyado, ang gastusin para dito ay dapat na manggaling sa kanilang mga principal, o kliyente, o kontraktor o subcontractor.

#Paul Ang

News Release
Department of Labor and Employment
May 18, 2020

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