Gov’t: Absent employees can’t be terminated due to COVID-19

Published March 18, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Argyll Cyrus Geducos 

The government said private businesses cannot fire their workers who are not coming to work because of the enhanced community quarantine imposed on mainland Luzon due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

In a bulletin released by Malacañang Wednesday, the government said businesses not in engaged basic necessities should not require their workers to come to work.

Malacañang Palace. (Photo by Richard V. Viñas) | Manila Bulletin
Malacañang Palace (Photo by Richard V. Viñas / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN) 

“Unless the company is engaged in basic necessities or service, employers should not require their employees to report for work,” the bulletin read.

“Employers should not terminate their employees by reason only of not reporting for work because of the COVID-19 situation.”

The bulletin likewise encouraged the private sector to adopt a work arrangement that will not require employees to physically report for work.

Employers should also extend financial help or assistance to their employees, urging them to grant a pro-rated 13th-month pay.

Meanwhile, the Departments of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will provide amelioration packages for those affected by the work stoppage.

Mainland Luzon is under strict home quarantine until April 14, but employees of establishments involved in the production, processing, and distribution of basic necessities are exempted.

The establishments that are allowed to continue operating are supermarkets, groceries, convenience stores, wet markets, pharmacies, drug stores, banks, and remittance centers.

Personnel involved in health work, border control, emergency, and other mission-critical services are likewise exempted from the travel restrictions.

Other establishments that are allowed to remain open are those involved in basic utilities like water, electricity, internet, and telecommunications.

Critical services like garbage collection, funeral and interment services, and gasoline stations should likewise remain open.

Business process outsourcing (BPO/IT) and export-oriented establishments can also continue operating as long as they provide temporary housing or shelter to their employees.

Meanwhile, those going out of their homes are required to always bring their IDs, proof of residence, certificate of employment, a delivery receipt for those transporting goods to and from the quarantine area, and authorizations or certifications issued by authorized government offices, if applicable.

Public Sector

Employees in the executive branch of government should also work from their homes unless they are rendering emergency frontline services. Those authorized to work should maintain a skeletal workforce.

Travels, trainings, and seminars are not allowed during the enhanced community quarantine period.

According to Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, bonafide IDs issued by the respective agencies shall be sufficient for movement around the contained area until accreditation orders have been issued by the agency concerned. Skeletal workforces may use official agency vehicles.

Agencies with jurisdiction over those exempted from the strict home quarantine requirement are likewise tasked to issue official Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) accreditation IDs.

The Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) was tasked to design the official seal and template of IATF accreditation IDs issued by the government. The period for the issuance of IATF accreditation IDs shall be until March 21.

Bonafide IDs issued by establishments exempted from the strict home quarantine requirements shall be honored by law enforcement agencies until March 21.

READ MORE: Entire Luzon under quarantine