Department of Labor and Employment
March 4, 2020
DOLE calls for flexi work, other means to deal with Covid-19
Amid the creeping impact of the COVID-19 epidemic on global trade and its perceived impact on domestic economies, the labor department announced yesterday a package of measures that would mitigate any potential threat the disease might have on the country’s labor market.
In a press briefing, Secretary Silvestre Bello III said that the labor department is preparing a wide-ranging set of actions that would prepare the labor sector from any impact from the epidemic.
Bello said that he has tasked all labor officials, both in the regional offices and those in Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLO), to be on alert-footing to allow a quick reporting system on worker displacements and pave the way for countermeasures.
He said the measures will include urging industry leaders to adopt “flexitime” work arrangements for workers in industries that could be affected by an outbreak.
The labor secretary also said that DOLE is preparing to reposition some of the department’s financial programs to sectors that might be affected by an outbreak of COVID-19. He said assistance packages like the Adjustment Measures Program (AMP), Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers Program (TUPAD), and Government Internship Program (GIP) will be repositioned to help workers in industries that could be affected by the epidemic.
In the same press briefing, Undersecretary Ana Dione said that the flexible work arrangements is a better alternative than the outright termination of the services of the employees or the total closure of the establishment.
“The labor department calls on employers to adopt flexible work arrangements as an alternative measure to save jobs. Instead of totally closing their businesses, we encourage them to adopt schemes such as reduced work days, rotation, and adjusted working hours,” the senior labor official said.
OIC-Assistant Secretary Dominique Tutay added that 35 tourism-related establishments involving 3,255 workers have already resorted to flexible work arrangements. The establishments are located in Western Visayas, Central Visayas, and SOCCSKSARGEN regions.
Flexible work arrangements, which are temporary in nature, refer to alternative arrangements or schedules other than the traditional or standard work hours, workdays, and workweek.
It is one of the coping mechanisms and remedial measures in times of economic difficulties and national emergencies and is recognized as beneficial in terms of reducing business costs and saving jobs while maintaining competitiveness and productivity in industries.
Prior to its implementation, the employers shall notify the labor department through the Regional Office which has jurisdiction over the workplace. END/aldm