Don’t force employees of non-essential establishments to report for work — Nograles
MANILA, Philippines — Employees of non-essential establishments cannot be forced to report to their jobs with the entire Luzon placed under a month-long enhanced community quarantine to contain the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases Spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles on Wednesday said employees could not be terminated due to this reason alone.
“Unless the company is engaged in basic necessities or services, employers should not require their employees to report for work,” Nograles said in a press briefing.
“Employers should not terminate their employees by reason only of not reporting for work because of the COVID-19 situation,” he noted.
President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday placed the entire Luzon under an enhanced community quarantine which takes effect from March 17, 2020 to midnight of April 13, 2020.
Only private establishments providing basic necessities and activities related to food and medicine production shall remain open.
This includes “public markets, supermarkets, groceries, convenience stores, hospitals, medical clinics, pharmacies and drug stores, food preparation and delivery services, water-refilling stations, manufacturing and processing plants of basic food products and medicines, banks, money transfer services, power, energy, water and telecommunications supplies and facilities.”
Workers have been stranded or either forced to find other means of transportation, with some even walking to their work places following the imposition of stricter quarantine measures.
“Since they’re (workers) under [an] enhanced community quarantine, then they really cannot report. And they will be excused. There will be no basis for them to be disciplined,” Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III earlier said.
Bello said workers may also opt to use their leave credits for their absences.
The Philippines is now also under a state of calamity due to the rising cases of COVID-19.
Health officials have so far recorded 193 cases of COVID-19 in the country. Of the number, 14 have died while seven were able to recover.
COVID-19, which was first detected in China’s Hubei province late 2019, causes mild symptoms such as fever and cough for most people but can cause serious illness such as pneumonia for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems.
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