Paid leaves for COVID-19 positive workers sought


Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) – May 4, 2021 – 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Leila de Lima has proposed the grant of mandatory paid leaves for qualified workers in the public or private sector who have contracted COVID-19.

De Lima filed Senate Bill 2148 seeking to grant 10 days of paid leaves for employees who need to undergo quarantine, and who because of the nature of their occupation cannot avail themselves of a telecommuting program or work from home scheme.

“Filipinos valiantly choose to work, to provide for their families and to save the economy, despite the danger this pandemic poses,” said De Lima, who chairs the Senate committee on social justice, welfare and rural development.

“It is only right that workers be provided with the incentive of having paid leaves when they test positive for COVID-19 and need to isolate,” she added.

About 4.5 million Filipinos reportedly lost their jobs in 2020, with the unemployment rate at 10.4 percent – the highest recorded in 15 years – due to lockdowns.

The unemployment rate increased from 8.2 percent in October 2020 to 8.8 percent last January, with Calabarzon and Bicol seen to have double-digit unemployment rates of 13.1 percent and 11.3 percent, respectively.

“Despite these numbers, the government sees these as ‘signs of recovery.’ But with the reimposition of the stricter lockdown, it appears otherwise,” De Lima said.

She said granting the 10-day pandemic leave would protect the welfare of workers and their families as well as avoid transmission of the virus in the workplace.

Under the measure, an employee who applies for paid pandemic leave must submit medical records and other proof of eligibility to the employer.



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