De Lima pushes for mandatory 5-day paid pandemic leave for workers

Published January 23, 2022, 11:09 AM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Senator Leila de Lima has urged Congress to immediately pass the law mandating a five-day paid pandemic leave for workers in light of the surge in COVID-19 cases in the country.

De Lima lamented that workers already occupy a vulnerable position in Philippine society but their miserable plight is aggravated by the spread of the coronavirus.

“They work hard to ensure they have food on the table and can sustain the needs of their family. They fall ill without the money to buy medicines, and yet they force themselves to get well and fight for their loved ones,” De Lima pointed out.

“They fear getting infected and lose their jobs, they face other hardships during this pandemic. Instead of financial assistance, what does this government do? They sow fear, violence, burdens, penalties, discrimination, human rights abuses. Where is justice?” the senator asked.

Last year, De Lima filed Senate Bill (SB) No. 2307 which seeks to provide for a five-day paid epidemic leave benefit to any private sector employee, regardless of employment status, who tests positive for the COVID-19 virus, or any emerging infectious disease.

The bill also provides a maximum of 60 days of paid leave credits at 80 percent of the employee’s full pay for those who were placed on “floating status.”

De Lima, who is seeking re-election in the upcoming May 2022 elections, also filed Senate Bill No. 2148 seeking to grant 10 working days of paid COVID-19 leave for employees who contracted COVID-19 and who, because of the nature of their occupation, cannot avail of a telecommuting program or work from home scheme.

The detained lawmaker said she is in solidarity with workers who call for better treatment of workers especially during this time of a pandemic.

“I support the continuous call of workers—in social media, in the office, those working at home and in the streets—so that the government would hear their plight and their situation would improve eventually,” she said.

“I call on Congress to pass the Paid Pandemic Leave bill. There should be aid and justice for our workers!” De Lima stressed.