Employees can’t be forced to work –DOLE
Date Published: April 29, 2020
The Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) clarified on Monday, April 27, that employers and companies cannot force their employees to report to work during the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
According to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello 3rd, employers could not compel their workers to show up at work during the health crisis.
Thus, an employee or worker can opt to stay home to secure his health and safety and that of his family.
Millions of workers were displaced because of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) implemented by the government in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease. Employees in vital agencies and institutions such as hospitals, however, have continued working during the pandemic.
Some companies producing essential items such as food have also continued their operations. But a number of employers have been forced to make do with available manpower because some of their workers have refused to go to work fearing that they might get the virus.
On Monday, the Association of Labor Unions (ALU) appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to allocate more funds for the cash aid program for workers implemented by the Labor Department.
Alan Tanjusay, ALU spokesman, said the government should continue to implement the Covid Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP) because only 345,000 of the 2 million workers displaced by the coronavirus pandemic were able to get financial assistance from the Labor department.
“Ang apela namin sa [Inter-Agency] Task Force at kay Pangulong [Rodrigo] Duterte ay dagdagan ang pondo ng CAMP. Dahil April 15 ay itinigil na ng DoLE ang pamimigay dahil naubusan na sila (We are appealing to the task force and to President Duterte to allot more funds for CAMP. The Labor department stopped the program on April 15 because it ran out of funds),” Tanjusay said.
But data from the DoLE showed that 264,154 workers were extended cash assistance amounting to P1.3 billion.
ALU also called on the government and companies to pay the salaries of workers who underwent 14-day quarantine.
The Labor Department also implemented a program to help workers in the informal sector and displaced Overseas Filipino Workers.