Recruitment agencies and employers must provide an appropriate briefing on the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic to land-based overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) said on Wednesday.
In Memorandum Circular No. 01, series of 2021, the POEA added that the workers must also be briefed on the various precautionary measures and health-related protocols mandated by the Philippine government and countries of destination.
The circular covers all licensed Philippine Recruitment Agencies (PRAs) and principals/direct employers recruiting, deploying, and employing land-based OFWs.
“The OFWs shall abide with the health and safety policies and protocols of the country of destination,” the POEA said.
They are also tasked to provide for the appropriate fee for Covid-19 testing of workers, as required by the employer and the country of destination, as well as meals, accommodation, and transportation from the point of hiring to the intended destination in order to ensure that the deployed workers are negative for Covid-19 prior to deployment.
Likewise, they have to ensure the immediate repatriation of the workers, as the need arises, back to the Philippines and to the worker’s residence, if necessary.
The recruiter shall also provide alternative work arrangements to the worker except for domestic helpers, to ensure the safety and tenure of the workers and avoid job displacements.
Also part of their responsibility, are the claims and liabilities of the workers in connection with their employment contract.
“In accordance with the provisions of Republic Act 10022 and the 2016 Revised POEA Rules, licensed/Philippine recruitment agencies and their principals/employers shall be jointly and severally liable for claims and liabilities which may arise in connection with the implementation of the employment contract, including but not limited to unpaid wages, death and disability compensation, and repatriation,” it said. (PNA)