SENATOR Risa Hontiveros called for the urgent grant of hazard pay to health workers, government employees, military and police, security personnel, service workers and other “frontliners” in the country’s fight to contain the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
“Every day, our health workers and other heroes from the public and private sector make great sacrifices as they work in the frontlines to stop the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. Let us thank and help them by making sure they receive the proper compensation due their efforts,” she said.
“Hindi lang dagdag face masks at protective wear ang kailangan ng ating mga health professionals at ibang frontliners laban sa COVID-19. Kailangan din nila ng dagdag takehome pay na naayon sa matinding pagod at panganib na kanilang iniinda at hinaharap,” Hontiveros added.
The senator explained that under Republic Act 7305 or the Magna Carta of Public Health Workers, doctors, nurses and other health workers in the public sector whose work exposes them to “danger, occupational risks and perils to life” must receive an additional hazard pay which can be as high as 25 percent of their monthly basic salary, depending on their pay grade.
“Agaran sanang maibigay ang hazard pay sa ating mga public health workers. Likewise, I hope that health professionals working in the private sector will immediately receive similar additional compensation,” Hontiveros said.
Apart from health workers, Hontiveros said hazard pay must be also granted to government employees who ensure that key public services continue to function despite the outbreak: “Huwag din natin kalimutan ang mga traffic enforcers, pulis, sundalo, immigration officers, barangay tanod, office clerks at iba pang kawani ng pamahalaan na patuloy na direktang naninilbihan sa publiko.”
While no law currently requires the payment of hazard pay in the private sector, Hontiveros also appealed to employers to “take the initiative in providing additional pay” to workers like security guards, bank tellers, shopping attendants, cashiers, media workers, restaurant waiters and hotel staff, whose work expose them to greater risk of being infected with COVID-19.
“Without our underappreciated security guards, shopping attendants, cashiers and other workers providing basic services, life in the metro as we know it would grind to a halt. Let us extend a helping hand to these workers who in turn, help preserve some sense of normalcy in our communities, even in these difficult times,” Hontiveros said.