The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is now a “compensable illness” as far as the Employees’ Compensation Commission (ECC) is concerned.
Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III revealed this good news during the agency’s virtual press briefing on Wednesday, April 28.
“Yung COVID-19 na ngayon is a compensable illness. Napakalakng bagay niyan. Malaki-laki ang compensation kapag COVID-19 ang dumapo sa ating manggagawa dahil sa kanilang trabaho (COVID-19 is now a compensable illness. That is a big deal. Our workers will receive a significant compensation if they catch COVID-19 in the line of duty),” Bello said.
The development Bello was referring to had to do with ECC Board Resolution No.21-04, which sets the conditions for the compensability of COVID-19 under the ECC list of occupational and work-related diseases.
“Yung mga work-related illness, usually ang compensation niyan is P10,000. Pero kung COVID, P30,000 under this ECC resolution (Usually compensation for work-related illnesses is P10,000. But under this ECC resolution, you’ll receive P30,000 if you get afflicted with COVID),” he said.
DOLE Director Rolly Francia said after the press briefing that the P30,000 amount had been recommended by the ECC Board for the approval of President Duterte.
The conditions citied in the four-page document are as follows: A. There must be a direct connection between the offending agent or event and the worker based on epidemiologic criteria and occupational risk (e.g. healthcare workers, screening and contact tracing teams, etc.); B. The tasks assigned to the worker would require frequent face-to-face and close proximity interactions with the public or with confined cases for healthcare workers; C. Transmission occurred in the workplace; or D. Transmission occured while commuting to and from work .
Bello said that no distinction will be made between mild and severe cases of COVID-19. This means that workers with either case can receive the monetary benefit by virtue of the resolution.
The DOLE chief said the resolution would take effect 15 days after its publication, He further said that such benefit for workers had long been under consideration, and that the resolution had practically been ready since the start of the month. However, it had to be signed by all ECC Board members before it can be released to the public. “Government is not sleeping. Government loves our workers. Alam naman natin na ang ating manggagawa ang prime movers ng aring economy (We all know that the prime movers of our economy are our laborers),” he said.