Part I: How will I be compensated during the Enhanced Community Quarantine?
With the implementation of the Enhanced Community Quarantine in the whole Luzon region as directed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte, people are left with no choice but to stay at their respective houses in hopes of containing the massive transmission of the Corona Virus Disease – 2019 (COVID – 2019).
With nothing to do, they are left to ponder on the thought of how they are going to survive for the next month with abundant expenses, but meager income inflow, or none at all.
Earlier this year, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), through Secretary Silvestre H. Bello, III (Sec. Bello), issued Labor Advisory No. 01 Series of 2020 dated 13 January 2020 discussing the payment of wages in case of work suspension in the private sector due to natural or man-made calamities. The rules are as follows:
- If unworked – no pay, unless there is a favorable company policy, practice, or collective bargaining agreement (CBA) granting payment of wages on said day. When the employee has accrued leave credits, he/she may be allowed to utilize such leave so that he/she will have compensation on said days.
- If worked – no additional pay shall be given to the employees but only their salary on said day.
The Advisory further states that to alleviate the situation of the employees, the employers may provide such extra incentives or benefits to employees who reported to work on the said days. We emphasize that this is discretionary upon the employer by the usage of the word “may”.
This Advisory may be read with Labor Advisory No. 11 Series of 2020 dated 14 March 2020 discoursing the supplemental guidelines relative to the remedial measures in view of the on-going pandemic of COVID – 2019. In light of the current situation and the suspension of work in the private sector, the DOLE Advisory explicitly states that:
The leaves of absences during the community quarantine period shall be charged against the workers’ existing leave credits, if any. Remaining unpaid leaves during the said period may be covered and be subject to the conditions provided in the DOLE’s proposed COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program.
From the foregoing, this shall mean that if the employee has unused leave credits, he/she may utilize the same in order to be paid. We would like to emphasize that this is discretionary upon the employee, and he/she may not be forced by his/her employer to utilize his/her leave credits. If his/her leave credits do not suffice, then the remaining unpaid leave credits may be covered and be subject to the conditions provided in the DOLE’s proposed COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP). To date, the DOLE has not yet issued CAMP.
For employees who are identified as Persons Under Investigation (PUI) or Persons Under Monitoring of COVID-19, they will be paid during their quarantine period regardless if they filed their leave credits or not.
To simplify and summarize the contents of the Advisories, the “no work, no pay” principle applies except when the company policy, collective bargaining agreement, or company practice provides otherwise, or in case of employer’s generosity and consideration. Should the employee have unused leave credits, he/she may utilize the same in order to be compensated during the days that he/she is absent by reason of work suspension in the private sector (e.g. Enhanced Community Quarantine). Should there be remaining unpaid leave credits, this may be paid in accord with the conditions set forth under DOLE’s proposed CAMP.
Let’s all hope for the best, and together we will endure this pandemic.
For further queries on this matter or other legal concerns, you may contact us from Mondays to Fridays, 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM, through our email: email@example.com, and our website at http://mfbr.com.ph. Update (as of 17 March 2020): For further information, kindly click this link for the guidelines in availing the CAMP – link of Part II