Citing the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the country, Magdalo Para sa Pilipino partylist Rep. Manuel Cabochan III wants that all private and public healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic be given hazard pay which shall be equivalent to at least 30 percent of their basic salary.
The vice chairperson of the House Committee on Veteran Affairs and Welfare said that as the threat of the coronavirus disease remains, the health risks for the country’s frontliners are still present.
“The provision of hazard pay for healthcare workers is imperative for the fulfilment of their duties. It is the responsibility of the government to protect and ensure the welfare of our healthcare workers,” Cabochan said in filing House Bill No. 7459, the proposed “COVID-19 Hazard Pay for Healthcare Workers Act of 2020.”
He said that under Administrative Order No. 26 which was signed on March 23, 2020, government personnel who are already receiving hazard pay should choose between the regular hazard pay and the COVID-19 hazard pay.
“This implies that the COVID-19 hazard pay is not provided on top of the existing pay and the benefits they are receiving. Such implementation of hazard pay does not fully recognize the additional health risks and hazards for our healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic,”
He said under HB No. 7459 , the hazard pay shall be compensated until the Department of Health (DOH) and/or the World Health Organization (WHO) has officially declared that the COVID-19 pandemic has ended.
Covered by the bill are all healthcare workers in the public and private sector such as medical practitioners, staff, and aide in hospitals, sanitaria, rural health units, main health centers, health infirmaries, barangay health stations, clinics, laboratories, and other health-related establishments that are exposed to the disease.
The healthcare workers shall be compensated with hazard allowances equivalent to at least 30 percent of their respective monthly basic salary for the duration of COVID-19 pandemic, under the bill.
This shall be different and separate from the existing hazard allowances granted to the workers covered by the proposed Act, it said.
HB 7459 provides that the increase in hazard pay or its equivalent shall not be subject to tax consistent with the very purpose of this grant of incentives to all public and private medical workers who are exposed to the dangers of COVID-19.
The DOH and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), in consultation with appropriate government agencies and other relevant stakeholders, are tasked to formulate the implementing rules and regulations of the proposed Act within 60 days from the day the proposed Act takes effect.