Firms with assets over P100 M in special economic zones required to provide shuttle to employees

The Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) said big companies or those with total assets of above P100 million located inside special economic zones and other areas under the jurisdiction of investment promotion agencies are "required to provide shuttle services for their employees."

Department of Labor and Employment (MANILA BULLETIN)
Department of Labor and Employment

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III and Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said this in an advisory issued over the weekend.

Based on the DoLE-DTI advisory, the provision of shuttle services shall be consistent with Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) Resolution No. 69 dated Sept. 7, 2020.

The IATF guideline states that “large-sized private establishments with total assets above P100,000,000 located inside special economic zones and other areas under the jurisdiction of Investment Promotion Agencies are required to provide shuttle services for their employees.”

“Assets shall refer to total assets, inclusive of those arising from loans but exclusive of the land on which the particular business entity's office, plant, and equipment are situated. (Section 3, Republic Act 9501 or the Magna Carta for MSMEs),” the advisory said.

Bello said in case the private establishments are unable to financially sustain the provision of shuttle services, they may adopt alternative arrangements, such as "cost-sharing, partial vouchers for use of Transport Network Vehicle Services, and other alternative arrangements to facilitate the transportation needs of their employees."

The joint advisory also stipulates that “employers may contract the services of Public Utility Vehicles (PUV) to subsidize public transport operations.”

The advisory also provides requirements that must be followed by private establishments for the setting up of isolation areas and implementation of disinfection procedures as provided for in the DTI-DoLE Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) No. 2020-4-A, Series of 2020.

The DoLE said the requirement of designating an isolation area of one room for every 200 employees shall be based on the average number of employees reporting to work per shift.

“The isolation rooms may be outside the establishments, provided that they are within the control of the employer, i.e. the facility is readily available when necessary, and provided further, that a temporary holding facility for employees and visitors with symptoms, or following further assessment required after responding to the health declaration form, shall be set up within the immediate vicinity of the workplace and/or building,” the DoLE-DTI advisory said.

It also clarified that employees classified as Most-at-Risk Population (MARP) and those who are at least 18-years-old but below 21 years may be allowed to report to work for eight hours, provided that they undergo a fit-to-work examination and secure a medical certificate from any competent authority.

An occupational health physician or government physician with occupational health training can examine and certify the employee’s fitness to work for regular hours under Rule 1967 of the Occupational Safety and Health Standards.