A measure seeking to provide hazard pay for all frontliners and essential workers during pandemics, epidemics, outbreaks, and other public health emergencies has been filed at the House of Representatives.
Ang Probinsyano partylist Rep. Alfred Delos Santos filed House Bill No. 7717 seeking to provide additional pay to the country’s frontliners and other essential workers during public health emergencies to ensure their financial security.
Once approved and signed into law, medical frontliners, pharmacists, grocery workers, law enforcers and security staff as well as media workers, morticians, and other essential workers will be entitled to receive hazard duty pay during public health emergencies.
Delos Santos said his bill seeks to address the reported snowballing complaints about unpaid hazard pay of healthcare workers.
“This bill is offered as a solution to this growing problem. This bill aims to guarantee the hazard pay of all essential workers, and secure the hazard pay from inexplicable deductions,” Delos Santos said.
He voiced out the concerns of the Alliance of Health Workers (AHWs) 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, depending on which is higher in amount between the two benefits on computation.
“The medical personnel’s enjoyment of their hazard pay has been plagued by controversies,” he laments.
The following essential industries are covered by HB 7717:
- Medical and health facilities, laboratories, and other related establishments;
- Pharmacies, drugstores, medical laboratories, and other firms that produce and deliver medicine and other health products;
- Mortuaries, crematoriums, and other establishments that offer funeral services;
- Grocery and convenience stores, wet and dy markets, restaurants, and other businesses related to food, non-alcoholic beverages, and other basic consumer goods;
- Law enforcement and security agencies;
- Public utility companies;
- Telecommunication companies;
- Television, newspaper, radio, and other mass media companies that help disseminate information to the public;
- Waste management and sanitation companies;
- Banks and financial institutions providing money transfer services;
- Mass public transportation and delivery companies;
- Gas stations an car service centers; and
- Other companies that provide essential services to the general public, and/or establishments that require their staff to report for duty during the occurrence of a public health emergency.
The bill provides that the additional remuneration shall not affect or reduce any of the existing benefits under the current policies of the government and all concerned agencies.
HB 7717 mandates the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the Civil Service Commission (CSC) to formulate the implementing rules and regulations of the proposed Act 30 days after its effectivity.