Senate bill on health workers’ COVID-19 benefits inches closer to final OK

Published by rudy Date posted on January 25, 2022

By:  – Reporter / @CMRamosINQ

 / 11:49 PM January 25, 2022

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate on Tuesday approved on second reading a bill mandating the grant of benefits and allowances to public and private health workers during the state of national public health emergency amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Senate approved on second reading Senate Bill No. 2421 or the proposed COVID-19 Benefits and Allowances For Health Workers Act of 2022.

The bill applies to all public and private health workers, regardless of employment status during the state of public health emergency, the measure stated.

The compensation for COVID-19 related sickness and death provided under the measure also covers “non-medical workers and outsourced personnel hired under institutional or individual contract of service or job order basis assigned in health facilities involved in the COVID-19 response.”

Under the bill, the national government shall grant the following benefits to the workers covered by the measure:

(a) COVID-19 Risk Allowance for every month served, regardless of quarantine status; with the following amounts depending on risk exposure categorization:

P3,000 for workers deployed in  “low risk areas”
P6,000 for workers deployed in “medium risk areas”
P9,000 for workers deployed in “high risk areas”

(b) Compensation for contracting COVID-19 or COVID-related death in the line of duty:

P1 million shall be provided to the heirs of the covered individuals in case of death
P100,000 shall be provided to covered individuals who contract severe or critical case of COVID-19
P15,000 shall be provided to covered individuals who contract mild or moderate case of COVID-19

According to the bill, the COVID-19 Risk Allowance shall be given on top of the benefits provided under the Magna Carta of Public Health Workers and “other forms of hazard pay as a result of collective bargaining agreements with private employers.”

“[T]he allowance shall be released in full if a health worker physically reports for 96 hours in a month, otherwise, the benefit shall be prorated,” the bill stated.

If enacted, the measure will have retroactive application from July 1, 2021 and “shall remain in full force and effect during the state of national public health emergency as declared by the President.”

/MUF

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