Interim Guidelines on Workplace Prevention and Control of COVID-19 | COVID-19 | Guidelines

Department of Trade and Industry

Department of Labor and Employment

Department of Health

Government mandates strict health measures in the workplace

The DTI and DOLE issued last 1 May 2020 the “Interim Guidelines on Workplace Prevention and Control of COVID-19” mandating private businesses to implement strict health measures in the workplace to help prevent COVID-19.

Client Alert - 13 May 2020

The Department of Trade and Industry (“DTI”) and Department of Labor and Employment (“DOLE”) issued last 1 May 2020 the “Interim Guidelines on Workplace Prevention and Control of COVID-19” (the “Guidelines”). The Guidelines mandate private businesses to implement strict health measures in the workplace to reduce the transmission of COVID-19.

1. What do the Guidelines require businesses to do?

The Guidelines require employers and employees to, among others, do the following in the workplace:

  1. Wear face masks at all times and remove them only when eating and drinking.
  2. Practice physical distancing at a minimum of 1 meter radius space between persons.
  3. Accomplish a daily health symptoms questionnaire and undergo temperature checks which should be recorded in the questionnaire. Visitors should also accomplish the questionnaire.
  4. Equipment and vehicles entering the workplace should be disinfected. All work areas and frequently touched objects (i.e. doorknobs and handles) should be cleaned and disinfected at least once every 2 hours.

For employers particularly, they should:

  1. Provide the appropriate face masks to employees.
  2. Provide clinical staff assigned to assess employees with appropriate medical grade personal protective equipment.
  3. Provide monthly reports of illness, diseases and injuries to the DOLE Regional Office and copying the Department of Health.
  4. Put up a COVID-19 hotline and call center for employees to report potential COVID-19 cases.
  5. Designate a safety officer to monitor COVID-19 prevention and control measures.

Employers also have the option of testing their employees for COVID-19 according to company policy mutually agreed upon by the employer and employee. The testing will be at the employer’s expense.

2. How do the Guidelines affect you?

The Guidelines formalize the new normal in the workplace by requiring physical distancing and strict health measures. The full Guidelines can be accessed here and we highly suggest that you read it in its entirety because it greatly affects the daily operations of your business. This will also prevent your business from violating labor regulations and incurring the corresponding sanctions.

If your business is allowed to operate during the community quarantine, you should already be taking steps to comply with the Guidelines. Similarly, even if your business is not yet allowed to operate, you should already plan how your business will comply with the Guidelines in the future.

If you have any questions regarding the Guidelines and how your business can comply with the same, just send us a message on our Facebook page and we’ll arrange for our Partner Lawyers specializing in labor law to assist you.

Please also like our Facebook page to stay updated on the latest legal developments relevant to you and your business.

Regards,

The Legal Tree team
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