MANILA – A labor group on Tuesday asked the government to provide cash subsidy to private-sector workers who may be displaced in case of a lockdown on various areas amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) threat.
“We call upon President (Rodrigo) Duterte to provide workers with cash subsidy as government financial aid to daily-paid workers and those ‘no-work, no-pay’ employees who might be affected in case the government enforces a lockdown on (Covid-19)-hit areas where their workplaces are located,” TUCP president Raymond Mendoza said in a statement.
He added that the fund can be sourced from the President’s social fund or from the executive department’s contingency fund using the existing mechanism of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) community-based emergency assistance called Tulong Pangkabuhayan sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD).
“There’s no need to create a law or regulation about this cash assistance. But given the kind of crisis that we have, we have to expand and tweak the program and design it to the Covid-19 lockdown scenario,” he said.
Under the emergency community-based assistance, the government provides emergency employment for displaced workers, underemployed and seasonal workers for a minimum of 10 days but not exceeding a maximum of 30 days.
Under a proposed lockdown, the government strictly controls entry and exit points of an area or a particular community deemed by authorities to contain the spread of the disease for a certain number of days.
The group also appealed to employers to relax tardiness rules to help improve employees and business productivity affected by Covid-19 lockdowns and other outbreak crisis constraints.
“We urge employers to temporarily relax workplace tardiness house rule by extending it further to 15 to 30 minutes to allow employees to report on time in spite of the additional bio-security protocol that comes in the way of workers reporting for work,” TUCP vice president Louie Corral said.
He said the Covid-19 threat should not be used as a convenient excuse to justify lay-offs, retrenchments, closures, and reduction of wages and benefits.
“The employer should also adopt safety and health policy in ensuring virus-free workplace by providing company-paid face masks, alcohol and other personal protective equipment. The enterprise must also design quarantine and self-quarantine contingencies and implement decontamination measures to minimize contamination within the workplace without job displacement or retrenchment. Workers affected by disease must be covered by social security and employment compensation for wage protection,” he added. (PNA)