Department of Labor Employment Issues Guidelines on 2019 Novel Coronavirus Prevention Control at the Workplace

With its latest advisory, the Department of Labor and Employment is addressing the need for employers in the private sector to be vigilant in preventing the transmission of the 2019 novel coronavirus (“2019-nCov”) and what to do if there are employees that are suspected to be sick with the virus. These guidelines may be used by companies in crafting their own policy or guidelines in response to this global health risk.

If a worker is suspected of having the virus, the worker is to be immediately separated from other workers and referred to the nearest local health center or hospital for laboratory confirmation if the history, signs, and symptoms are consistent with a suspected case of 2019-nCov. The case should also be reported to the Department of Health and decontamination of the work area should be done.

If a worker is sick or has fever but is not suspected to have the virus, the worker must be advised to take prudent measures to limit the spread of communicable diseases. These may include staying at home, keeping away from crowds, taking adequate rest, and seeking appropriate medical care.

For workers who are requested to stay at home or ordered quarantined as a precautionary measure against 2019-nCov, absences may be charged to their annual sick or vacation leave credits. If leave credits are used up, employers may consider granting leave without pay. Employers and their workers may also agree on other “flexible and enlightened” arrangements for the leave of absence.

Employers may seek guidance from the Bureau of Working Conditions, the Occupational Safety and Health Center, and the DOLE-Regional Offices for further information on the 2019-nCov and workplace concerns, technical assistance in the form of risk assessment, and capability-building of focal persons in the workplace.

Click here to read the entire text of DOLE Labor Advisory No. 04 Series of 2020.

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