Senator files bill on five-day epidemic leave

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PHILIPPINE STAR/ MICHAEL VARCAS

A SENATOR has filed a measure mandating paid leaves in the private sector during a state of calamity such as the coronavirus pandemic.

Senator Leila M. De Lima filed Senate Bill No. 2307, which provides for a five-day paid leave benefit to any private sector employee, regardless of employment status, who tests positive for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) or any emerging infectious disease.

For employees placed on “floating status,” the measure proposes a maximum of 60 days of paid leave credits at 80% of the worker’s full pay.

“The proposed measure is a social justice tool that upholds workers’ most basic human rights. If we can offer protections to industries, nothing should stand in the way of shielding employees from oppressive situations that epidemics of this magnitude have confined them in,” the detained senator said in a press release.

While saying that the government “has rightly taken proactive steps to ensure the protection of capital investments in the country,” Ms. De Lima lamented that measures aimed at providing social safety nets for workers remain sorely lacking.

“In the absence of safeguards, these workers could find themselves in a situation where they may need to make a choice between health and income, which comes at a risk to both their health, the health of others and their economic well-being,” she said.

Under the bill, the grant of paid epidemic leave shall be made available upon the declaration of either a national or local state of calamity. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza

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