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  • No Work or Business, No Pay? Here's How To Apply for DOLE's Financial Assistance

    You can choose not to report to work during the COVID-19 quarantine and still keep your job.
    by Rachel Perez .
No Work or Business, No Pay? Here's How To Apply for DOLE's Financial Assistance
PHOTO BY iStock
  • Most of the country is at a standstill due to the imposed enhanced community quarantine<. Business others than food, supermarkets, and pharmacies are ordered closed. It’s a temporary but needed measure to help contain the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

    Some bill payments and loanshave been temporarily suspended, but many workers still worry about their financial security. They still need to earn to spend on their basic needs. Job security is also up in the air, with many businesses expecting to be hit by the aftermath of this global health crisis.

    President Rodrigo Duterte appealed to business conglomerates to take care of their employees and share the financial burden with small businesses who also depend on their services so they can, in turn, extend help to their employees.

    Many companies such as JG Summit, Ayala, SM, and the San Miguel Corporation, among others, committed to giving their workers full wages for the duration of the quarantine period. Some are not requiring employees to use leave credits, while others are advancing their 13th-month pay.

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    You can choose not to report to work during the COVID-19 quarantine and still keep your job.

    Republic Act No. 11058, otherwise known as ‘An Act Strengthening Compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Standards’ (OSHS) of 2018 states:

    “The worker has the right of refusal to work without threat or reprisal form the employer if, as determined by the DOLE, an imminent danger situation exists in the workplace that may result in illness, injury or death, and corrective actions to eliminate the danger have not been undertaken by the employer.”

    Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III reiterated that employees do not have to report to work if they don’t want to report. “Since they’re under enhanced community quarantine, then they really cannot report,” he said in a press briefing of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) on March 17, 2020.

    In a bulletin released by Malacañang, on March 18, 2020, it stated: “Unless the company is engaged in basic necessities or service, employers should not require their employees to report for work.” It also reiterated that employers “should not terminate their employees” if they chose not to report to work because of the COVID-19 situation.

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    Companies that are allowed to operate should still adopt flexible work arrangements. These include reduction of work hours or workdays, rotation of workers, and enforcing forced leaves. Bello stressed that an employee’s leave credits are his own. “Nobody can force you to use it if you don’t want to use it,” he said.

     

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    DOLE clarified, however, that given the circumstances, if employees decides to not use their leave credits, they will receive only "financial assistance from DOLE or [from the] generosity of their employers."

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    DOLE has two financial programs in place to help workers affected by the enhanced community quarantine

    DOLE has laid out two programs that can help subsidize the informal workers and employers, so they can still pay their employees their wages during the quarantine period.

    COVID Adjustment Measures Program

    The Php1.3-billion COVID Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP) is a one-time financial assistance amounting to Php5,000 for workers in private establishments who were affected by, or temporarily suspended during the quarantine period. If you are an owner of a small to medium business or are working in one, this may also apply to you.

    Who are eligible to receive CAMP

    Private sector workers of small or medium enterprises that are affected and temporarily suspended during the quarantine period can avail of financial assistance via their employers. All employees, regardless of their employment status, are covered.

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    Government employees and employees of large companies are not qualified to receive CAMP.

    Requirements and how to apply for CAMP

    The employers or the owners of small and medium businesses are tasked to apply for CAMP on behalf of their employees and not the employee individually. Employers of affected establishments must furnish the following:

    • Establishment report on the COVID-19 according to Labor Advisory No. 9 Series of 2020 to inform DOLE of what flexible work arrangements the company adopted during the quarantine.
    • Company payroll for the month before the implementation of flexible work arrangement or temporary closure
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    These documents must be submitted online to the respective DOLE regional or provincial offices to be evaluated. Note that applications may be denied due to ineligibility, misrepresentation of facts, or submitting falsified or tampered documents. The employer should receive approval or denial notice after three working days.

    Upon approval, CAMP financial assistance will be distributed by the respective DOLE offices to the beneficiaries’ payroll via bank transfer within two weeks upon receipt. The employer should submit a notice to DOLE once this is completed.’

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    Tulong Pangkabuhayan sa Displaced/Underprivileged Workers

    The Pho180-million emergency employment program under the Tulong Pangkabuhayan sa Displaced/Underprivileged Workers (TUPAD) is a community-based (municipality or barangay) package of assistance. It provides temporary wages for underemployed, self-employed workers, and displaced marginalized workers who have lost their livelihood or whose earnings were affected by the Enhanced Community Quarantine due to COVID-19.

    Those who will avail of TUPAD will earn the highest minimum wage for working in the disinfection of the communities for a limited period of ten days.

    See how different local government units are helping their constituents tide through the enhanced community quarantine. Click here, here, or here.

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