MANILA – The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) has issued guidelines that would assure the protection and benefits of Filipino seafarers during unfortunate situations in their deployment or repatriation due to Covid-19 related reasons.
In Governing Board Resolution No. 13, Series of 2020, the agency issued interim guidelines on the provision of assistance and benefits to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
Under the guidelines, a seafarer who signed an employment contract but cannot be deployed from the point of hire due to Covid-19 related reasons should be provided with accommodation and food at the principal/employer’s cost, unless provided by the government, until the seafarer is deployed or returned home, and even until the contract cancellation.
A Filipino worker who was deployed but becomes stranded during his transit should be paid basic pay, accommodation, food, and medical benefits at the principal/employer’s cost until the seafarer joins the vessel.
The same assistance and benefits should be given to seafarers who already signed a contract and are deployed but unable to join the ship and are repatriated back home. The same applies to OFWs who cannot be repatriated due to Covid-19 related reasons.
Seafarers who completed the period of contractual service onboard, and who is ashore but cannot be repatriated should still be provided with basic pay, accommodation, food, and medical benefits.
When a seafarer is under quarantine, the principal/employer should also provide all the cost on the accommodation and food, unless these are provided by the government.
Principal/employers will be allowed to recover any associated cost on the provision of assistance and benefits in accordance with the employment contract or the collective bargaining agreement. (PNA)