(File photo)

MANILA – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is set to issue an advisory on paid isolation and quarantine leave benefits for workers who will be in isolation due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

“DOLE's commitment is a labor advisory to clarify the rules or clarify the policy of paying isolation and quarantine leave. Our Secretary (Silvestre Bello III) wants to mandate the payment of isolation and quarantine leaves, but that needs a sufficient legal basis. that is a law,” Labor Undersecretary Benjo Benavidez said in a virtual forum on Wednesday.

“If the employer provides isolation and quarantine leave through a company policy or generosity, that will be fine. That is the content of our labor advisory,” he added.

He said they expect the advisory to be released in the next few days.

“There is already a draft... in the spirit of social dialogue, and tripartism we need to consult or ask for input or comments from our partners in labor and employers,” Benavidez added.

He said they support the law to legalize paid isolation or quarantine leaves.

“Yes, we support the measure. I just don't know what is the legislative status. What I know is it already passed in the committee level, Committee on Labor at the House of Representatives. The DOLE supports it,” he added.

Meanwhile, a labor group said the benefit will help workers and businesses cope and keep the economy afloat despite the debilitating impact of recurring attacks of Covid-19 variants.

"A paid isolation and quarantine leave benefit will encourage employees to faithfully undergo isolation and quarantine at the first instance of the symptoms to protect themselves. As a consequence, this will protect the health and safety of the rest of the co-employees. and business continues to operate and remain productive and competitive. In turn, the whole economy is insulated from the destructive effects of virus surges," Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) president Raymond Mendoza said.

The group also hoped that the DOLE's labor policy will encourage employers and business owners to pay the duration of isolation and quarantine period of their employees who contracted the disease.

Under the paid isolation and quarantine leave benefit, all exposed employees who have to undergo isolation and quarantine (at home or in a facility) for several days and not yet confined to a hospital but have exhausted all his/her company-offered leave benefits will continue to receive their wages from their employer throughout isolation.

Employees who contracted Covid-19 can receive compensation but not those who need to be placed in isolation and quarantine for observation following preliminary positive test results.

Under the employees' compensation benefits program of the Employees Compensation Commission (ECC), employees -- who are paying members of the Social Security System-- who are hospitalized and confined for Covid-19 will be compensated throughout their hospital confinement including the cost of medicine, doctor's fee, and rehabilitation. (PNA)