The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is seeking P5 billion in funding from the Bayanihan 3 proposal to compensate workers who have run out of leave credits and have to be absent due to the pandemic.
This could include, for example, those affected by COVID-19, those in close contact quarantine, or those who have experienced adverse effects due to the vaccine.
“More than a year na po tayo, and I’m sure all the leave credits that they earned ay talagang exhausted na… Ang worker pipilitin niya pa ring pumasok dahil natatakot sya na pag di siuya pumasok wala siyang susuwelduhin… ‘Yung mga ganitong agam-agam po ng ating mga kababayan inisip po namin na matulungan din,” said DOLE Assistant Secretary Dominique Rubia-Tutay.
According to Defend Jobs Philippines (DJP), the problem of workers has been around since the beginning of the pandemic.
They agree that this type of aid should be funded, but they should also have paid pandemic leave.
“Hindi lang itong pandemic na COVID-19 ang mararanasan natin, marami pa. Kaya maganda sana nakasulat na siya sa batas ng bansa natin [para] madaling makuha ng mga manggagawa hindi tulad ngayon lagpas 1 taon pa bago tayo nagkaroon ng ganitong pronouncements sa DOLE,” said DJP spokesman Christian Lloyd Magsoy.
DOLE requests P5 billion for workers’ exhausted leave
Under the Bayanihan 3 proposal, which has already passed the House, the DOLE has P30 billion for its cash assistance program for displaced workers and OFWs and emergency employment in the informal sector.
However, the Bureau of Treasury has not yet issued a certificate of availability of funds that will ensure the government has enough money to fund such a bill.
The country’s unemployment rate in April 2021 was estimated at 8.7 percent. This was substantially lower than the record high 17.6 percent in April 2020 but higher than the 7.1 percent reported in March 2021.
The unemployment rate in April 2021 was the same/ about the same as the rate reported in October 2020 (8.7%), January 2021 (8.7%), and February 2021 (8.8%).
The total number of unemployed individuals 15 years old and over in April 2021 was registered at 4.14 million in terms of magnitude. It was lower by 3.09 million from the number of unemployed persons in April 2020 (7.23 million).