Senate of the Philippines

Lapid bill pushes 28-day paid quarantine leaves for workers

Mara Cepeda
Lapid bill pushes 28-day paid quarantine leaves for workers

MORE BENEFITS SOUGHT. Healthcare workers of San Juan City receive financial assistance from the local government at the Fil-Oil Flying V Arena on August 27, 2021.

Rappler

If passed into law, the bill says paid quarantine leaves should not affect employees' existing benefits

Senator Lito Lapid has filed a bill that would grant paid leaves for private and public workers who would have to undergo quarantine due to the coronavirus. 

Under Senate Bill (SB) No. 2404, Filipino workers who would be exposed to a COVID-19 case or would be infected with the virus shall be entitled to paid leaves during their mandatory quarantine period, which should not exceed 28 days per year.

The pay would be equivalent to their daily wage rate.

If passed into law, SB 2404 would mandate that the paid quarantine leaves should not in any way affect workers’ existing benefits, including their sick and vacation leaves as well as hazard pay.

The Social Security System and the Government Service Insurance System would reimburse employers for the payment of their workers’ paid quarantine leaves. 

But if the exposure was due to the employers’ “negligence,” the costs would have to be shouldered by the company. 

Employers who refuse to grant the paid quarantine leaves stand to face a fine worth P30,000 up to P200,000. If the violation was committed by an association, partnership, corporation, or any other institution, the firm’s managing head, directors, or partners would be held liable. 

“I’m pushing for this bill on separate quarantine leave benefits for our workers so that should they get sick, we can guarantee that they would have the money to spend for their family’s expenses and the medicine they need to get well,” Lapid said in a statement.

The payment of benefits of health workers and Filipino employees in general has been the subject of heated debates since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the Philippines.

Medical frontliners in Metro Manila staged protests during National Heroes’ Day in August over their unreleased benefits promised by the government. 

Labor coalition Nagkaisa has also appealed to employers to grant paid quarantine leaves and for the government to provide P10,000 in subsidies for all workers. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.