The Employees Compensation Board has approved higher sickness benefits and cash assistance for workers who will contract COVID-19, among other illnesses.
The Public Service Commission also ruled on Wednesday that workers who have had to miss work due to COVID-19-related quarantine, isolation or treatment are considered excused.
Based on the ECC’s recommendation, workers who fall ill will receive 600 pesos a day in sick pay and 30,000 pesos in cash.
“We have already submitted this to Malacañang,” said ECC Executive Director Stella Banawis.
At present, workers receive 480 pesos in sick pay and 10 pesos in cash assistance which they can claim from the social security system and the utility insurance system.
In the meantime, CSC issued resolution 2101122 which amended the interim guidelines on the use of leave credits for absences due to quarantine or treatment related to COVID 19.
“Absence from work for each instance of the required quarantine, isolation and/or treatment period for government employees who are infected or identified as close contacts of a suspected, probable and/or confirmed case of COVID- 19 while performing their official duties (on site or at the WFH) will be considered an excused absence,” the committee said in the resolution.
The commission also cited the need to take into account the plight of government employees, apart from public health workers, who are repeatedly exposed to COVID-19 in the performance of their official duties due to a face-to-face interaction with clients and colleagues, or due to community transmission.
Government employees, the commission also said, may be required to adopt work-from-home arrangements, adding that this may depend on the nature of the workers’ particular work under the agency’s guidance on alternative work arrangements. .
Meanwhile, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said a public apology was needed because the “no vax, no ride” policy was not properly explained.
Bello said on Tuesday that workers in industries permitted at Alert Level 3 are exempt from the “no vaccination, no travel” policy because they perform essential services.
He said those responsible for implementing the policy might have simply forgotten that the workers were not covered by the ban.
Perhaps in their enthusiasm to protect the public, they forgot that workers are exempt, he added.
Bello said unvaccinated and partially vaccinated workers need only show their company ID to be allowed in public utility vehicles.
A lawmaker on Wednesday called for a congressional investigation into what she called an illegal and discriminatory policy.
In a resolution, Gabriela Partylist Rep. Arlene Brosas urged the House Health Committee and Transportation Committee to question transportation officials and affected sectors about the implementation of DOTr Order No. 001- 2022.
Brosas said reports reaching his office revealed that the policy had caused serious inconvenience to unvaccinated commuters in Metro Manila and those seeking to travel to Metro Manila, and reduced income. jeepney drivers and operators.
“Our public transportation system is already a mess. Why compound the burden on Filipino commuters with the highly discriminatory and repressive No Vax No Ride policy? The Duterte regime is weaponizing the vaccine mandate to use fascist tools of social control,” Brosas said.
She also denounced the Department for Transport’s order as “devoid of any legal basis”.
In the Senate, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian recommended the government end its “no vax, no ride” to avoid chaos and confusion among commuters.
Since all of these commuters are workers, he said the policy should no longer be implemented.
Senator Risa Hontiveros said public transport is an essential service for everyone.
As such, the public, especially workers, should not be deprived of their use, whether they are vaccinated or not.
She also called “nonsense” the need for commuters to prove they are “essential workers” before taking public transport.
Senator Aqulino Pimentel III on Wednesday called the government’s “no vaccine, no commute” policy discriminatory, saying it only targets the poor.
He said there was no valid reason to treat the vaccinated differently from the unvaccinated when it comes to who can transmit the coronavirus, as both can.
Also on Wednesday, Cebu Pacific Air (CEB) announced that unvaccinated and partially vaccinated minors (under the age of 18) will be allowed to travel if they are returning residents and accompanied by a fully vaccinated adult.
The airline will require proof of residency as well as existing requirements from local government units.
CEB management said exempt from the No Vaccination, No Fly policy are people with medical conditions that prevent full vaccination against COVID-19, and those who will procure essential goods and services.