Hontiveros: Give hazard pay to frontliners in fight vs coronavirus
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Risa Hontiveros on Monday called for the granting of hazard pay for “frontliners” in the fight against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) such as health workers, government employees, and military and police, among others.
Hontiveros said that additional take-home pay should be given to those helping prevent the spread of the virus to compensate for the effort and danger that they face in their jobs.
“Every day, our health workers and other heroes from the public and private sector make great sacrifices as they work in the frontlines to stop the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. Let us thank and help them by making sure they receive the proper compensation due to their efforts,” Hontiveros said.
Citing the Republic Act 7305 or the Magna Carta of Public Health Workers, Hontiveros said that health workers in the public sector whose work exposes them to “danger, occupational risks and perils to life” must receive additional hazard pay.
This hazard pay, Hontiveros said, can be as high as 25 percent of their monthly basic salary, depending on their pay grade.
“Agaran sanang maibigay ang hazard pay sa ating mga public health workers (Hopefully we can immediately give this hazard pay to our public health workers). Likewise, I hope that health professionals working in the private sector will immediately receive similar additional compensation,” the senator said.
Likewise, Hontiveros said government employees who are also exposed to the dangers of COVID-19 should also be given hazard pay.
“Huwag din natin kalimutan ang mga traffic enforcers, pulis, sundalo, immigration officers, barangay tanod, office clerks at iba pang kawani ng pamahalaan na patuloy na direktang naninilbihan sa publiko (Let us not forget our traffic enforcers, policemen, soldiers, immigration officers, barangay tanod, office clerks and other workers in the government who continue to serve the public),” she said.
The senator also extended her call to the private sector, saying that despite having no laws requiring them to provide hazard pays, they should “take the initiative in providing additional pay” to their workers.
This includes security guards, bank tellers, shopping attendants, cashiers, media workers, restaurant waiters, and hotel staff, who could also be exposed to COVID-19 while doing their tasks.
“Without our underappreciated security guards, shopping attendants, cashiers and other workers providing basic services, life in the metro as we know it would grind to a halt. Let us extend a helping hand to these workers who in turn, help preserve some sense of normalcy in our communities, even in these difficult times,” Hontiveros said.
As of Sunday evening, there are 140 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country, with the death toll reaching 12.
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