DOLE call for paid isolation, quarantine leaves for COVID-affected workers backed

A Palace official is supporting the Department of Labor and Employment's (DOLE) call for private sector employers to give appropriate paid isolation and quarantine leaves for coronavirus disease (COVID-19)-affected workers, but insists that it should be done voluntarily.

(Shivendu Shukla/ Unsplash)

“This is one initiative that needs to be supported by all fronts," Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion said in a statement Wednesday, Jan. 19.

"Secretary Bello’s directive is very commendable as it directly addresses some concerns of our workers, especially this pandemic,” said Concepcion, referring to Labor Advisory No.1 issued by DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III.

In his order, Bello urged employers to allow a worker who has been classified as close contact, suspect, probable, or confirmed case of COVID-19 to complete home isolation or facility-based quarantine via paid leaves. The paid isolation or quarantine leave for workers should be separate from their regular leave benefits, according to Bello.

However, Concepcion proposed that the private sector should only shoulder half of the paid isolation and quarantine leaves for the employees as many businesses are still struggling to recover from the effects of the pandemic.

“In times like this, we in business are not doing well. Some who are doing well will consider this but let's be flexible those who cannot. But those who can even support with half, that would be great help,” he said.

Nevertheless, Concepcion said the intention of Bello’s order is commendable and should be supported for the sake of the workers who are affected by COVID-19.

The Go Negosyo founder said Bello’s order will provide workers with peace of mind because their salaries are assured while they undergo quarantine.

“The main concern of our workers is they won’t be paid their salary when they undergo quarantine. Bello’s order would allay that worry as they are now assured of their daily wage while in isolation,” he noted.

Concepcion said workers will now be encouraged to declare the true state of their health as they won’t have to worry about lost wages while in quarantine. He said that some workers don't divulge having COVID-related symptoms to their employers so they could continue to work.

“This order, if implemented by private sector employers, would also help quell the spread of COVID-19 among our workforce,” he said.

Concepcion appealed to the private sector to heed DOLE’s call for the sake of the workers, who are also risking their lives to keep the economy going amid the pandemic. “If we consider our workers an integral part of our business, then we must walk our talk and heed the call of Secretary Bello."

He said this is another opportunity for the government and the private sector to work together in addressing the effects of the COVID-19 scourge.