Mandatory 5-day paid pandemic leave for workers pushed
MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Leila De Lima on Saturday called on Congress to pass a law that mandates the payment of a five-day leave for workers who contracted COVID-19, amid the prevailing surge of cases in the country aggravated by the Omicron variant.
De Lima lamented that instead of providing assistance to afflicted workers, the government supposedly has been issuing threats and employing violence against workers found breaching quarantine restrictions just to go to work.
She said workers were burdened with the responsibility to earn for their families, and usually battle sickness with no funds for medicines or other medical expenses, but still force themselves to go to work.
“They are faced with the uncertainty to be infected or lose their jobs and other burdens. In return, what they get from the government are threats, violence, punishment, discrimination, violations against their basic human rights,” she said.
De Lima is pushing for the passage of Senate Bill No. 2307, which is a counterpart measure of House Bill No. 7909, filed by party list group Gabriela Women’s Party, and backed by 21 labor groups.SB 2307 also provides a maximum of 60 days of paid leave credits at 80 percent of the employee’s full pay for those who were placed on “floating status.”
In April 2021, De Lima filed SB 2148 seeking to grant 10 working days of paid COVID-19 leave for employees who contracted the virus and who, because of the nature of their occupation, cannot avail of a telecommuting program or work-from-home scheme.
While the bill is pending, labor groups said the government should use its savings from the budget and “excessive” funds of military and police, as quarantine pay for workers, De Lima said.
“We join the calls of many people, whether social media, offices, factories, homes or the streets, for our workers to be given attention by the government that has long played deaf,” she said.
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