DOLE urges employers to provide paid isolation and quarantine leave benefits

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 17) – The Department of Labor and Employment is urging private sector employers to extend paid leave, in addition to existing leave benefits, to workers who need to self-isolate or quarantine due to COVID-19.

The DOLE issued the notice on Monday “to ensure safe and humane working conditions” amid the continued spike in coronavirus cases.

The department said employers are encouraged to adopt an appropriate leave program in consultation with their workers. He added that other leave benefits set out in company policy, the collective agreement, the Philippine labor code and special laws should still apply separately.

“Paid isolation and quarantine leave are without prejudice to other benefits provided by the social security system and the Employees Compensation Board,” the notice further states.

The Philippines Trades Union Congress Party list last week said it met with Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III to push for mandatory isolation and quarantine leave, as infections among workers nationwide continue to increase.

According to updated Health Ministry guidelines, fully vaccinated COVID-19 patients with mild or no symptoms would only need to self-isolate for seven days. However, those who have not yet gotten or completed their coronavirus injections should self-isolate for 10 days.

The period is also 10 days for mild cases, while it is 21 days for severe and critical infections, regardless of vaccination status.

Fully vaccinated close contacts should quarantine for five days, but with symptom monitoring until day 14, while unvaccinated or partially vaccinated people should quarantine for two weeks.

Active cases of COVID-19 in the country hit a new all-time high of nearly 291,000 on Monday, out of a total number of more than 3.2 million infected people, after the DOH confirmed 37,070 new infections.

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