February 1, 2023

The regional offices of the Department of Labor and Employment, the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board, and the Department of Trade and Industry; enterprises, business owners, industry associations, cooperatives, corporations and employers’ organizations and formal sector workers, employee groups, and individuals will launch a social partnership accord to recognize the importance of a coordinated and inclusive approach among public and private stakeholders to succeed in the Covid-19 response, recovery, and resilience effort as the region recharges its economy headed to the new and better normal.

Lawyer Marvie Fulgencio of the National Wages and Productivity Commission said the accord will be a collaboration in the fields of awareness and information campaign and dissemination of guidelines on workplace safety and health for micro, small, and medium enterprises and their employees.

 She said trainings, orientation, and technical assistance will be provided for MSMEs in the region on labor advisories amid work disruptions, access to finance, productivity improvement programs, business continuity and resilience planning and adoption of productivity-based incentive schemes to ease business downturns caused by work disruptions.

“Enterprises, business owners, industry associations, cooperatives, corporations and employers’ organizations should ensure compliance with the guidelines on workplace prevention and control to reduce transmission of the Covid-19 at no cost to workers, specifically on physical and mental health, appropriate health and safety protocols, testing of at-risk workers manifesting Covid-19 symptoms, contact tracing, lockdown procedures and other improvement programs,” Fulgencio said.

For formal sector workers, employee groups and individuals should strictly follow work safety and health instructions by the employer in compliance with government guidelines, cooperate with management in the implementation of occupational health and safety and business productivity improvement initiatives and programs and coordinate with management and government better working conditions in the workplace and also to participate in trainings, consultations, social dialogue through face-to-face interaction and online virtual platforms to enhance capacity building policy formulation and implementation of Covid-19 response in the workplace.

The agreement will ensure involvement of all parties in realizing a healthy and safe workplace, continuous enterprise productivity and employment preservation amidst the pandemic and work disruption, and decent and productive work through business expansion and growth

The DOLE urged businesses to try a work-from-home and telecommuting setup for employees in businesses and industries allowed to resume operations under the modified enhanced community quarantine or general community quarantine.

“As Cordillera transitions into the new normal, the DOLE presented alternative work schemes that private companies can adopt to prevent further business reverses, while protecting jobs, averting closures and termination of workers at the same time,” DOLE Regional Director Ronie Guzman said.

These alternative work arrangements include transfer of employee to another branch, assignment of employee to another function or position in the same or another branch or outlet, reduction of normal workdays or work hours, job rotations, partial closure of an establishment while some department or unit is continued, and other schemes that are necessary or peculiar for the survival of a specific business or establishment.

Guzman advised employers to employ various wage and benefit schemes necessary for the continuance of business and employment in coordination with their workers and in conjunction with agreed company policies and their respective collective bargaining agreements; provided that said adjustments in wage and benefits should not exceed six months or the period mandated in their CBAs. – Press release

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