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Covid-19 a ‘compensable disease’

Department of Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the coronavirus disease 2019 is now listed as a “compensable disease”.

Bello said the Employees’ Compensation Commission, an attached agency of DOLE, included Covid-19 in its list of occupational and world-related diseases, through Board Resolution No. 21-04-14.

Covered by the Employees Compensation grant are workers affected by Covid-19 during the pandemic period.

Claimants are required to submit a certificate of employment from the employer, indicating the last day of reporting for work, reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction test result showing him or her positive for Covid-19 from any Department of Health accredited testing facility, medical records as appropriate, and an application form.

There must be a direct connection between the offending agent or event and the worker based on epidemiologic criteria and occupational risk, like healthcare workers, screening and contact teams tracing team, the tasks assigned to the worker would require frequent face-to-face and close proximity interactions with the public or with confirmed cases for healthcare workers, transmission occurred in the workplace, or transmission occurred while commuting to and from work, the ECC resolution added.

Bello said an employee affected by Covid-19 will receive P30,000.

“It will become a compensable illness. The usual compensation on work-related illness is P10,000 but if it’s Covid-19, P30,000 under this ECC resolution,” he said, adding that there is no distinction for mild or severe case.

“If it’s Covid, the compensation will be P30,000. If the patient needs operation or additional hospitalization, PhilHealth is there,” Bello added.

P20K AID

Meanwhile, over 32,000 employee compensation pensioners will get their P20,000 one-time financial assistance starting next month.

“We will start releasing the assistance this May. When they receive their pensions, the P20,000 financial aid will be included,” ECC executive director Stella Zipagan-Banawis said in a Laging Handa briefing yesterday.

Covered by the financial aid are EC pensioners for permanent partial disability, permanent total disability, and survivorship, from the private and public sectors.

“From the private sector, at least 20,000 EC pensioners will benefit while some 12,000 government workers will also benefit,” she added.

She said they are looking to complete the release of the cash assistance within two to three months.

Private sector workers will get the one-time financial aid from the Social Security System while the Government Service Insurance System will release the cash assistance to government workers.

On April 19, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Administrative Order No. 39 that approved the grant of the one-time financial aid.*PNA

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