DOLE, DTI issue workplace quarantine guidelines

Published May 1, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Leslie Ann Aquino 

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) have issued the guidelines to “assist private institutions that are allowed to operate during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and general community quarantine (GCQ) in developing the minimum health protocols and standards in light of the COVID-I9 pandemic.”

The Inter-Agency Task Force earlier recommended that guidelines be issued by the different government agencies to provide policy directions for the public and stakeholders in complying with government regulations following the modification of the ECQ.

Based on the guidelines, employers are highly encouraged to allow employees considered as most at risk and vulnerable to continue with their work-from-home arrangement.

These employees are those aged over 60 years old, with pre-existing illnesses, or with high risk pregnancy.

“Work agreements should be developed to detail the deliverables from these employees and there shall be no diminution in wages or benefits,” it said.

The guidelines also states that employers may test workers for COVID-19 adding that the testing kits used and procured shall be the responsibility of the employer.

It also reminded employers to follow the Health department’s protocols in the testing of workers and interpretation of results.

“Company policy on COVID-l9 testing shall be formulated and agreed upon by employers and workers in conformity with the DOH protocols,” it said.

The guidelines also enumerated the duties of employers abd employees.

Among the responsibilities of employers are: provide the necessary company policies for the prevention and control of COVID-I9 in consultation with workers; provide resources and materials needed to keep the workers healthy and the workplace safe, such as face masks; designate the safety officer to monitor COVID-19 prevention and control measures; enhance health insurance provision for workers; where feasible, provide shuttle services and or decent accommodation on near-site location to lessen travel and people movement; enjoin the hiring from the local community; and put up a COVID-l9 Hotline and Call Center for employees to report if symptomatic, and daily monitoring scheme of our “suspect” employee condition.

Employees, on the other hand, shall comply with all workplace measures in place for the prevention and control of COVID-I9, such as, frequent hand washing etc; observe proper respiratory etiquette; coughing and sneezing into tissue or into shift sleeve if tissue js not available; disposing used tissues properly; and disinfecting hands immediately through proper washing with soap and water or alcohol-based sanitizer immediately after a cough or sneeze.

The guidelines shall apply to all workplaces, employers and workers in the private sector.