COVID-19 now a compensable disease; infected workers may get 30K

Published by rudy Date posted on April 19, 2021

by Marje Pelayo, 19 Apr 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Employees’ Compensation Commission (ECC) has approved COVID-19 to be on its list of occupational and work-related compensable diseases.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Silvestre Bello III, who also chaired the ECC, made the announcement on Wednesday (April 28), classifying COVID-19 as a compensable occupational disease under Board Resolution No. 21-04-14.

The resolution stated that upon the request of the ECC secretariat, the DOLE’s “Occupational Safety and Health Center has conducted a study on the possible inclusion of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the List of Occupational and Work-related Diseases under PD 626, as amended, by reviewing local and international studies.”

Under the ECC resolution, “COVID-19 clinically diagnosed and consistent with the history, and signs and symptoms of COVID-19 supported by diagnostic proof to include reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction test is compensable in any of the following conditions:”

There must be a direct connection between the offending agent or event and the worker based on epidemiological criteria and occupational risk (e.g. healthcare workers, screening and contact tracing teams, etc.)
The tasks assigned to the worker would require frequent face-to-face and close proximity interaction with the public or with confirmed cases for healthcare workers;
Transmission occurred in the workplace; or
Transmission occurred while commuting to and from work
With this development, a worker from the private or public sector who contracts the virus may receive compensation from the ECC’s Employees’ Compensation Program.

“Magiging mataas ang compensation ‘yung mga work-related illness. Usually ang compensation niyan is P10,000 pero kung COVID-19 P30,000,” Bello said.

The said amount, however, is just a recommendation of the ECC and is still subject to the approval of President Rodrigo Duterte, according to Public Information Service director Rolly Francia of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

Bello said the compensation may be P30,000 regardless if the case is severe, mild, or moderate.

In a statement, ECC Executive Director Stella Zipagan-Banawis said this development is timely given the current situation in workplaces.

“It is only proper that we formulate and pass policies that will effectively and efficiently respond to the current situation and changing needs of our workers. We recognize the risk of those who courageously and willingly put their lives on the line as we continue to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said.

The resolution stated that it shall take effect 15 days after publication in a newspaper of general circulation.

With the inclusion of COVID-19, there are now 33 illnesses in the list of occupational and work-related diseases under the Employers’ Compensation Program.

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