Move to pay job order, contractual workers hailed

Joel Villanueva

SENATOR Joel Villanueva on Friday said that over 660,000 contractual workers in government stand to benefit from its decision to continue paying for salaries of those classified as job order (JO) and contract of service (COS) workers.

Villanueva, chair of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment, and Human Resource Development, hailed the issuance of the joint circular covering the salary continuance of government contractual workers while an enhanced community quarantine prevails in Luzon and other parts of the country due to the COVID-19 menace.

“Higit sa 660,000 na mga JO at COS na manggagawa po ang matutulungan natin sa hakbang na ito. Mapapanatag ang kalooban ng ating mga kasamahan na JO at COS dahil makakaya nilang tustusan ang pangangailangan ng kani-kanilang mga pamilya habang umiiral ang quarantine dito sa ating bayan,” Villanueva said in a statement.

Villanueva said the move will also help the government keep workers and their families at their homes because of the assurance that people will still be able to provide for their basic needs in the next few weeks.

Given that JO and COS workers do not get paid if they do not report to work, Villanueva said workers might not be able to provide for the needs of their families even if their offices or agencies are implementing alternative work arrangements such as skeletal staffing and work from home, among others.

“While some still report to work, their pay could significantly shrink because no work means no pay. This circular provides relief for our JO and COS workers and eases their concerns of providing for their families,” Villanueva said. “This gesture truly is a step in the right direction as we need the entire government to move in unison to manage the impact of COVID-19 on our country.”

Joint Circular No. 1, issued by the Commission on Audit and Department of Budget and Management, covers all JO and COS workers engaged by “Departments, Bureaus, Offices, and Agencies of the National Government, including Constitutional Offices, [State Universities and Colleges], [Government-Owned and -Controlled Corporations], [Local Water Districts], for the duration of the State of Calamity and Community Quarantine due to COVID-19.”

Data from the Civil Service Commission shows that of the 2.4 million workers in government, over 660,000 workers fall under job order or contract of service category. 

Some 360,000 government contractual workers are in Luzon, where the national government clamped an enhanced community quarantine until April due to COVID-19.