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DOLE urges employers to grant extra leave with pay for nCoV-related absences

GMA News Online logo GMA News Online 2/1/2020
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The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is calling on employers to grant additional leave with pay credits to workers who would be out of duty due to the 2019 novel coronavirus.

In Labor Advisory No. 4 series of 2020 or Guidelines on 2019-nCoV Prevention and Control at the Workplace issued by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, the DOLE encouraged employers to "exercise flexibility and compassion" in granting additional leave with pay.

This is for workers who are requested to stay at home or who are served quarantine order for reasons related to nCoV.

The following arrangements may be considred during the period of the employee's absence:

  • Worker's leave of absence may be charged to their annual sick/vacation leave credits under the company policy or practice or as stipulated in their collective bargaining, agreement if there is any.
  • By mutual agreement, employers and workers could also agree on other arrangements for the worker's leave of absence.

"If the worker's leave credits have been used up, employers could consider granting leave of absence with pay. However, employers are encouraged to exercise flexibility and compassion in granting additional leave with pay," DOLE said.

For workers who need to take care of their children or parents afflicted or suspected of having nCoV, or choose to stay away from work on their own accord due to contact with a confirmed or suspected nCoV to avoid transmission, the DOLE encouraged employers to adopt a "flexible and enlightened approach" in granting time-off which may include use of leave credits.

"For workers who have used up their vacation or sick leave credits, employers could consider granting them leave of absence without pay," it said.

On Thursday, the DOH confirmed that a 38-year-old woman from Wuhan City, China — the so-called epicenter of the deadly virus — tested positive for the 2019-nCoV. The said patient confined at San Lazaro Hospital in Manila is in stable condition, according to a source.

Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo on Friday said there were 31 suspected cases of the novel coronavirus in the Philippines.

Senator Joel Villanueva urged the private sector to adopt telecommuting as a work arrangement for employees whose tasks can be done remotely to minimize work disruptions amid the possible spread of nCoV. 

Republic Act No. 11165, or the Telecommuting Law which the senator principally authored and sponsored, institutionalizes telecommuting as a work arrangement and harmonizes its principles with the Labor Code. —Ted Cordero/KG, GMA News

This article DOLE urges employers to grant extra leave with pay for nCoV-related absences was originally published in GMA News Online.

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