Workers’ rights must be protected upon return to work, TUCP says

By Leslie Ann G. Aquino

Although they do not disagree with the idea of a gradual return to work when the enhanced community quarantine is lifted, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines said safeguards should be put in place so that workers will not be exposed to risk of exposure to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) while in transit and inside workplaces.

"Prior to workers returning to work, a worker-consulted COVID 19 occupational safety and health policy, measures, protocols and standards must already be in place so that workers who will return to work will not be risked of exposure to COVID19 while in transit and inside workplaces," TUCP spokesman Alan Tanjusay said in a statement.

The COVID19 OSHS policy, he said, should also make sure that exposed workers, in the course of fulfilling his job function, across all sectors whether person under investigation (PUI), person under monitoring (PUM) and probable (WHAT? Probable what?) who have to undergo 14-day quarantine or self-isolation must be compensated by government and employers.

"This OSHS policy must stipulate that in case of workers who are hospitalized or who died due to COVID19, medical, hospitalization, and burial benefits must be borne by the government and the employer," Tanjusay said.

"The OSHS policy must ensure that the family of employees' who died due to COVID19 exposure must be provided with company due benefits, separation pay benefits; death insurance benefits must be provided to the family beneficiary," he added.

Tanjusay said the COVID19 OSHS policy must also identify the standard personal protective equipment for employees in the workplace and expenses for the PPE shall be born by employers.

The Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine is expected to end on April 30. The government imposed the lockdown last month to prevent the spread of the COVID-19.