Senator Lito Lapid has filed a bill seeking to provide expanded employment security for workers whose work entails exposure to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
Under his Senate Bill 1910, Lapid proposes that employers should provide a workplace free from serious hazards, comfortable, and maximizes the productivity of the employees.
The bill said an employee whose work exposes him to threats of Covid-19, may inform his or her employer of any health concerns that he or she might have before resuming or continuing employment.
The employer, on the other hand, must act upon it immediately by installing additional safety equipment, adjusting the work environment, adopting appropriate work schedule, or finding alternative suitable employment for the said employee.
An employee may raise the issue before the regional office of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) if he or she is “unsatisfied with the response” of the employer, the bill said.
If the DOLE finds that the employer failed to provide adequate response, the employee may terminate his or her employment and shall be eligible for unemployment benefits, it added.
However, an employer may not be held liable for any injury that resulted from an employee contracting Covid-19, except when the employer violates the laws related to workplace safety.
Lapid cited that the Covid-19 pandemic brought adverse impact in the economy, most especially on the primary social economic force – labor.
The unemployment rate in July 2020 peaked at 10 percent, which is way higher than the 5.4. percent rate recorded in the same month last year.
“Napakaraming kababayan na natin ang nawalan ng trabaho dahil sa mga kumpanya at negosyong napilitang magsara bunsod ng pandemya (Too many people are now without work because companies were forced to shut down due to pandemic),” Lapid said.
He said other workers opted to resign for fear that they will contract the deadly virus.
“Kaya ang nakikita nating solusyon, siguruhing ligtas ang lugar na pinagtatrabahuan ng mga kababayan natin at bigyang pansin ang mga alalahanin nila sa kanilang kalusugan (The solution that we can see is to make sure that the workplace is safe and give attention to workers’ health),” he added. (PNA)