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Eliseo Zuñiga

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Eliseo Zuñiga, Jr. is a partner in the Employment and Dispute Resolution Practice Groups. He is also a member of the Industrial, Manufacturing & Telecommunications and the Healthcare industry groups in Manila. He has 19 years of experience advising clients on general employment issues, employee termination, executive compensation, benefits transfers and terminations, and general litigation. He actively participates as a speaker and presenter in various regional and local seminars and conferences on labor and employment-related issues. He serves as a Chairperson of the People Management Association of the Philippines’ Labor Policy Reforms and Industrial Relations Committee and Co-Chairperson of the European Chamber of Commerce Human Capital Committee. He has been cited as a Leading Individual in Employment by The Legal 500 Asia Pacific (2019-2020) and the Chambers Asia Pacific (2018-2020).

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Employment Compensation Commission (ECC) recently issued two separate guidelines (collectively, the “Issuances”) in connection with COVID-19. The Issuances provide guidance to covered employers and employees regarding the promotion of COVID-19 vaccination in the private sector as well as the classification of COVID-19 as an occupational and work-related disease.

On 03 March 2021, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) issued Department Order No. 224, Series of 2021, or the Guidelines on Ventilation for Workplaces and Public Transport to Prevent and Control the Spread of COVID-19 (“Guidelines”).

As part of the government’s continuing efforts and in cognizance of the poorly ventilated spaces in many workplaces, the Guidelines emphasize the immediate necessity to strictly enforce proper and adequate ventilation inside the workplace as a preventive measure against the further spread of COVID-19.

Considering the obligation of employers to ensure a safe working environment by taking on reasonable precautions to protect the health and safety of their employees, and in light of the present ambiguity of our labor laws in relation to vaccination policies for employees, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) issued Advisory No. 03, Series of 2021, or the Guidelines on the Administration of COVID-19 Vaccines in the Workplaces” (“Guidelines”) on 12 March 2021.

As COVID-19 vaccines become available, the Guidelines specifically deal with the applicable rules governing any vaccination policy, which may be implemented by employers and covered establishments in the workplace.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) issued Joint Advisory No. 20-01, Series of 2020, or the “Implementation of New Policy Directions as the Country’s Policy Shifts from Total Risk Avoidance to Risk Management and on the Further Re-opening of the Economy” (Joint Advisory).

On 11 September 2020, President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law Republic Act No. 11494, otherwise known as the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2), which details the measures to be implemented by the Philippine government to stimulate and accelerate the recovery of the Philippine economy from the adverse impact brought about the by the Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. 

The Bayanihan 2 took effect on 15 September 2020.

As a protective measure against the COVID-19 virus and in line with the directive of the Philippine President to all government offices to issue guidelines on the conduct of proceedings during the time of public health emergency, the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) promulgated En Banc Resolution No. 03-20 (Series of 2020), or the “Interim Amendments to the 2011 NLRC Rules of Procedure, as amended.”

As a protective measure against the COVID-19 virus and in line with the directive of the Philippine President to all government offices to issue guidelines on the conduct of proceedings during the time of public health emergency, the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) promulgated En Banc Resolution No. 03-20 (Series of 2020), or the “Interim Amendments to the 2011 NLRC Rules of Procedure, as amended.”