Mandatory life, health insurance pushed

Saying workplaces are becoming “hot spots” for COVID-19, Senator Risa Hontiveros on Wednesday renewed her call for the immediate passage of mandatory life and additional health insurance for private and public sector workers.

She says this is an ‘essential’ legislative measure that will protect workers’ health and well-being especially with the rising COVID-19 cases in workspaces.

“Our workers deserve better working conditions, full coverage, and protection against today’s risks, especially now that their places of work are becoming hot spots,” said Hontiveros as she pushed once again the passage of Senate Bill 1441 or the “Balik Trabahong Ligtas Act”.

Her statement came after Quezon City confirmed that the surge in COVID-19 infections was also emanating from the workplace.

Likewise, a group of healthcare workers has called on private companies to decongest workplaces and encourage work from home arrangements to contain infection surges.

Hontiveros says with workplaces potentially turning into COVID ‘hot spots’, it is of utmost importance that safety nets are put in place for workers as they expose themselves to higher risks of infection.

Once the bill is passed, Hontiveros says, workers will be provided “flexible sick leaves” that they can avail of on top of their existing 15-day statutory sick leave credits, presuming they have been infected while at work or if they have to go on leave in compliance with COVID-19 occupational safety guidelines of the government.

She also says firms should co-finance the PhilHealth premium of non-regular workers —including contractual, contract of service, probationary, and job order employees —who cannot opt to work from home.

“Going to work and becoming sick creates financial risks for our workers, they need to know that we have them and their families covered,” she said.

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