The Department of Labor and Employment issues guidelines on the adjustment measures program for affected workers due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
In light of the outbreak of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and in response to growing concerns on the same, President Rodrigo Duterte issued a Memorandum on 13 March 2020 imposing stringent social distancing measures in the National Capital Region (NCR), effectively placing the NCR on community quarantine. On 16 March 2020, President Duterte issued another Memorandum placing the entire Luzon under an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ). The ECQ ordered the cessation of operations of all private establishments, except those rendering basic and essential services and other establishments expressly exempted, as a measure to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. As a result, many workers have lost their source of income, temporarily or permanently, or otherwise suffered a reduced income.
To alleviate the plight of these affected workers, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) issued Department Order No. 209, Series of 2020, or the “Guidelines on the Implementation of the COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP)” (DO 209-20) on 17 March 2020. CAMP is a safety net program aimed at mitigating the adverse economic impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on workers, particularly through the provision of financial and employment assistance.
Coverage and eligibility requirements
The “affected workers” eligible for the CAMP under DO 209-20 are workers in private establishments whose employment face or suffer interruption due to the COVID-19 outbreak, such as:
- Retained workers who do not receive regular wage and whose working hours were reduced on account of the adoption of flexible work arrangements (e.g. reduction of work hours or work days, rotation of workers, forced leave, etc.) by their employers, resulting in reduced income; and
- Suspended workers, or those whose employment is temporarily suspended by reason of the suspension of operations of the employer’s business establishment.
The CAMP shall cover the above eligible workers from the onset of COVID-19 in January 2020 until the lifting of the stringent social distancing measures on 14 April 2020, unless extended by the Inter Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
Private establishments that have implemented flexible work arrangements or temporary closure due to the COVID-19 outbreak are eligible to apply for assistance for the benefit of their employees.
Assistance under the CAMP
Under the program, the assistance offered to affected workers has two components: (1) financial support and (2) employment facilitation.
- A one-time financial assistance equivalent to Php 5,000.00 shall be provided to affected workers in lump sum, non-conditional, regardless of employment status.
- Relative to DOLE Labor Advisory No. 11, Series of 2020, which states that the leaves of absence of workers during the quarantine period are to be charged against their leave credits, the financial assistance may be used to cover remaining unpaid leaves of affected workers.
- The program shall also provide affected workers access to available job opportunities suitable to their qualifications through job matching, referral and placement services either for local or overseas employment, employment coaching, and labor market information.
General procedural guidelines for availment of assistance
The following procedural guidelines should be complied with:
The private establishment must submit the following to the DOLE:
- Establishment Report to the DOLE setting forth the flexible work arrangement adopted in the workplace or the temporary closure implemented; and
- Company Payroll for the month prior to implementation of the flexible work arrangement or temporary closure.
The requirements enumerated above shall be submitted online to the appropriate DOLE Regional Office or any of its Provincial/Field Offices. The application shall be evaluated within three (3) days from receipt thereof by the DOLE.
Decision on the application
Upon evaluation of the application, the DOLE will issue a Notice of Approval, for approved applications, or a Notice of Denial, for denied applications, which shall be sent through electronic mail within three (3) days from the date thereof.
The grounds for denial of the application include ineligibility of the applicant, misrepresentation of facts in the application, or submission of falsified or tampered document.
Grant of assistance
Once the application is granted, the concerned DOLE Regional Office shall issue the financial support directly to the worker’s payroll account through bank transfer within two (2) weeks upon receipt of the Notice of Approval. Workers who receive the financial support (“beneficiaries”) are considered to have completed the CAMP and a Notice of Completion shall be issued to them via electronic mail.
Beneficiaries shall also be referred to the nearest Public Employment Services Offices (PESO) for the provision of a full-cycle employment facilitation. Beneficiaries who intend to find subsequent local and overseas wage employment shall be referred to appropriate employers with job vacancies matching their qualifications and provided employment coaching and relevant market information.
In consideration of the outbreak’s continued economic impact to both employers and employees, all are requested to cooperate and lend a hand. Private establishments are highly encouraged to implement flexible work arrangements instead of completely ceasing operations and permanently laying off employees. In the process, employers are encouraged to avail of the CAMP for the benefit of their employees.