January 31, 2023

On top of the minimum health protocols now being implemented in areas most frequented by the public and in the workplace, the secretaries of the Departments of Trade and Industry and Labor and Employment have issued on Aug. 15 supplement guidelines on Covid-19 prevention and control in the workplace.
Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) 20-04-A enjoins employers to implement workplace safety and health programs and requires employers to facilitate webinars, virtual lectures, and trainings on Covid-19 prevention and control.
The circular also contains guidelines on how to manage symptomatic and asymptomatic employees in the workplace. It states that employees, regardless of work arrangements, should have access to telemedicine services or to a barangay health center.
For contact tracing purposes, employers are mandated to refer symptomatic employees to the nearest health center and also submit the health declaration forms signed by employees and visitors.
If a positive case is detected in the workplace, the facility will be locked down for 24 hours to give way for disinfection.
Following the expanded testing strategy of the Department of Health, employers are also mandated to facilitate mandatory RT-PCR testing of employees in the following industries: hospitality and tourism, employees of manufacturing companies and public service providers in economic zones, transport and logistics, food retail, education (once face-to-face classes resume), financial services, non-food retail such as cashiers, stock clerks, retail salespersons, services such as hairdressers, barbers, manicurists, pedicurists, massage therapists, parking lot attendants, security guards, messengers, ushers, lobby attendants, receptionists, clergy, vendors, construction, water supply, sewerage, waste management, judges, courtroom clerks, staff and security, all national and local government employees rendering frontline services, and mass media.
The testing shall be conducted once every quarter at no cost to the employee.
The same circular contains the protocols on resumption of work for employees found positive of the Covid-19.
Asymptomatic employees who recover are not required to undergo RT-PCR test prior to resumption of work, provided they are cleared by the local health officer or occupational safety and health physician.
A copy of JMC 20-04-A may be accessed in the nearest DTI or DOLE office or downloaded from the official websites of the DTI, DOLE, and https://www.officialgazette.gov.ph/2020/08/15/joint-memorandum-circular-no-20-04-a-s-2020-2/. – Rimaliza A. Opiña