June 20, 2024

Covid-19 is now considered as an occupational and work-related disease, which means that infected workers in the country may receive compensation.
The Employees’ Compensation Commission (ECC), an attached agency of the Department of Labor and Employment, has included Covid-19 in its list of occupational and world-related diseases through Board ECC Board Resolution 21-04-14, s. 2021.
Here is what employers need to know:
The labor and employment law requires private sector employers to provide workers compensation benefits to their employees through the Employees’ Compensation (EC) program. In particular, employers have to contribute a certain amount for each employee (which is dependent on the monthly compensation of the said employee) to the program through the Social Security System. As a result, employees who suffer work-related contingencies may receive compensation under the EC program.
In annex A of the ECC (Presidential Decree 626 as amended), an employee may be compensated provided that the Covid-19 infection is clinically diagnosed and consistent with the history, and signs and symptoms of the virus supported by diagnostic proof to include RT-PCR.
It further states that a claimant-employee must have a) direct connection between the offending agent or event and the worker based on epidemiologic criteria and occupational risk (e.g. healthcare workers, screening and contact teams tracing team; b) The tasks assigned to the worker would require frequent face-to-face and close proximity interactions with the public or with confirmed cases for health care workers; c) Transmission occurred in the workplace; or d) Transmission occurred while commuting to and from work.
It is also reminded that employers should always comply with their obligation to contribute a certain amount for each employee to the EC program to avoid complications in claiming workers compensation, and should remain attentive on their obligation to record chronologically the sickness, injury or death of their employees setting forth therein their names, dates and places of contingency and absences, and report to the SSS those contingencies it deems to be work-connected.
Employers should also ensure that compensation claims are accurate, made in good faith, and aligned with ECC Board Resolution 21-04-14. In case of payment of benefit for any claim which is later determined to be fraudulent and the employer is found to be a party to the fraud, the employer shall reimburse the SSS the full amount of the compensation paid.
Occupational and work-related diseases as amended by ECC Board Resolution 11-05-13, s. 2011 include the following: Cancer of the epithelial lining of the bladder, cancer, epithellomatous or ulceration of the skin or of the corneal surface of the eye due to tar, pitch, bitumen, mineral oil or paraffin, or any compound product or residue of any of these substances, cataract produced by exposure to the glare of, or rays from molten glass or molten or red hot metal, occupational hearing loss, decompression sickness – any process carried on in compressed or rarefied air and decompression sickness – any process carried on in compressed or rarefied air.
Other work-related diseases include dermatitis due to irritants and sensitizers, infections, ionizing radiation disease, inflammation, ulceration or malignant disease of skin or subcutaneous tissues of the bones or leukemia, or anemia of the aplastic type due to X-rays, ionizing particle, radium or other radioactive substances, poisoning and its sequelae,pneumoconiosis,diseases caused by abnormalities in temperature and humidity and vascular disturbance in the upper extremities due to continuous vibration from pneumatic tools or power drills, riveting machines or hammers, viral hepatitis among workers in close and frequent contact, poisoning by cadmium among workers in battery factories, who are exposed to cadmium fumes, leukemia and lymphoma among operating room personnel due to exposure to anesthetics.
For sickness or injury or the resulting disability or death to be compensable, it must be the result of an occupational disease listed in the EC rules, or there is proof that the risk of contracting the sickness or injury is increased by the working conditions or that the said sickness or injury is a result of an accident arising out of and in the course of employment. If the sickness or injury is determined to be compensable, the EC program will pay the benefits.
Other work-related diseases that are compensable may be checked at www.ecc.dole.gov.ph and www.oshc.dole.gov.ph.
Workers in the Cordillera may get in touch with ECC through www.facebook.com›ECC.CAR.REU or email [email protected] car/oshc cordillera [email protected].