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SEND HOME EMPLOYEES WITH FLU – VILLANUEVA

Employers should not hesitate to send home workers who show flu symptoms but continue to report for work and consider the occupational health and safety of their entire organization, said Senator Joel Villanueva.

At the same time, Villanueva urged the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to issue a pertinent labor advisory reminding private companies of their obligations to comply with labor standards particularly the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) law.

“While the public’s awareness of the prevailing health scare concerning the novel coronavirus (nCoV) remains high, our labor officials should seize the moment to reiterate that the health and safety of our workers must be of paramount concern to employers. Our OSHS law states this principal clearly and unequivocally,” said the chair of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment, and Human Resources Development.

“The labor advisory will also serve as a warning for companies who think that they can tip toe around prevailing regulations without any consequence,” the veteran legislator.

The senator also credited the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration for issuing a timely bulletin to its overseas welfare offices across the world about the nCoV using information from the World Health Organization.

The advisory, dated January 24, 2020, contains travel precautions and related advice to the public, which is clearly directed to overseas Filipino workers in various parts of the world, he said.

In the local perspective, the DOLE could take cue from their counterparts in the Department of Health, which have been aggressive in informing the public of the proper precautions to avoid nCoV and the suspected and confirmed incidences in the country, according to the lawmaker.

“The most important action we can do is preventing the spread of illnesses as simple as the flu.”

“We hope to see this similar resolve from our friends in the labor department for the benefit of our workers,” Villanueva added. “The most important action we can do is preventing the spread of illnesses as simple as the flu.”

Right now, the practical approach on preventing an outbreak is a sustained information drive on the issue for workers and employers, he pointed out.

“I encourage the private sector to adopt telecommuting as a work arrangement for employees.”

To minimize work disruptions, he encouraged the private sector to adopt telecommuting as a work arrangement for employees whose tasks can be done remotely. Republic Act No. 11165, or the Telecommuting law which Villanueva principally authored and sponsored, institutionalizes telecommuting as a work arrangement and harmonizes its principles with the Labor Code.

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