A lawmaker at the House of Representatives on Monday, March 29 called on the government to certify the bill providing a 14-day pandemic leave to workers as urgent.
House Assistant Minority Leader and Gabriela Party-list Representative Arlene Brosas said House Bill No. 7909 or the proposed “Paid Pandemic Leave” law should be a priority to help allay the fears of distressed workers especially amid the reimposition of “yet another militarized lockdown.”
Under House Bill No. 7909, Brosas said 14 days of paid additional leave at full pay would be granted to COVID-19-exposed workers.
The bill also seeks a maximum of 60 days paid leave at 80 percent pay to be provided to “floating workers” or those who were involuntarily out of work but are still employed due to the effects of the pandemic on enterprises.
It also aims to “ensure occupational safety and health in workplaces, and to promote the protection of labor and the spillover effects of the pandemic on the economy.”
Brosas said the measure was already approved by the House Committee on Labor and Employment last year but is yet to be approved by the Committee on Appropriations.
“With the imposition of a stricter enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) accompanied by restrictions on public transportation, Filipino workers are still compelled to report to work because of ‘no work, no pay schemes’,” Brosas said in a statement.
“Worst, they are either required to work without hazard pay or be placed on unpaid forced leave or floating status,” she added.
“This is why the government should certify as urgent the Makabayan bloc’s Paid Pandemic Leave Bill to provide social safety nets in place as workers and their families continue to suffer from income losses,” Brosas reiterated.
She said the Lower House should also fast track the approval of the bill as Filipino workers continue to face the violent surge of COVID-19 cases.
The lawmaker blamed the surge of coronavirus cases to the Duterte administration’s “failure” to provide safety measures for the labor force and overall failed pandemic response.