PNA calls for paid leaves for COVID-19-infected nurses
MANY NURSES HAVE BEEN INFECTED with Covid-19 while they are on duty in private hospitals.
To prevent further the spread within the workplace, they are required to stay at home or be under quarantine. In effect, many hospitals have interpreted that for nurses to stay at home or observe quarantine is to give up their work for those days without pay, following the principle of “no work, no pay.”
Labor Advisory 4 s. 2020 issues the guidelines on Covid-19 prevention and control in the workplace. It clearly provides in Title III that “for workers who are requested by their employers to stay at home or who are served quarantine orders for reasons related to 2019-nCov…worker’s leave of absence may be charged to their annual sick/vacation leave credits under the company policy or practice as stipulated in their collective bargaining agreement, if there is any. If the worker’s leave credits have been used up, employers should consider granting leave of absence without pay. However, the employers are encouraged to exercise flexibility and compassion in granting additional leave with pay.”
The Philippine Nurses Association (PNA)-CAR posits that the “no work, no pay principle” should not strictly apply to nurses because it is not their fault when they acquire Covid-19 in their workplace. It is inherent in their job that the risk of acquiring the virus within the workplace is high. Thus, hospitals should never shift the burden to nurses by leaving them unattended, especially in terms of compensation, when they themselves are affected by the disease they seek to eliminate.
The PNA-CAR further believes that nurses should not be denied additional leave with pay despite the fact that their leave credits are already used up. Employers may claim that this is an additional burden to their economic costs, yet, without nurses to be compensated, hospitals cannot even function.
Besides, it will be the highest form of equity should a little help be given to nurses more than what the law requires. A little sacrifice is much appreciated from hospitals because nurses themselves give up their safety, resources, and time with their families for the welfare of all. — PROF. ERLINDA CASTRO-PALAGANAS, PNA-CAR governor and other chapter officials