Employment Preservation, Alternative Work Schemes, Flexible Work Arrangements, Wage and Benefits on Resumption of Business Operations

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) issued Labor Advisory No. 17, series of 2020, providing for Guidelines on Employment Preservation Upon the Resumption of Business Operation. The Advisory applies to all employers and their employees regardless of employment status in the private sector operating or allowed to resume business operations under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), general community quarantine (GCQ), or other quarantine arrangements.

WORK-FROM-HOME

There are may challenges to the resumption of business operations, including issues related to transportation and interzonal movement. Establishments are, when feasible, highly encouraged to adopt work-from-home or implement telecommuting arrangement pursuant to Department Order No. 202, Series of 2019. Employees of work-from-home (WFH) or telecommuting arrangement shall be provided with adequate support to perform the assigned task of job. [See Summary of Options for Employers/Businesses]

ALTERNATIVE WORK SCHEME

As an alternative to termination of employment or closure of business, any or a combination of the following may be adopted:

  • 1. Transfer of employees to another branch or outlet of the same employer;
  • 2. Assignment of employees to other function or position in the same or other branch or outlet of the same employer;
  • 3. Reduction of normal workdays per day or week;
  • 4. Job rotation alternately providing workers with work within the workweek or within the month;
  • 5. Partial closure of establishment where some units or departments of the establishment are continued while some units or departments are closed; and
  • 6. Other feasible work arrangements considering specific peculiarities of different business requirements.

Flexible work arrangements provided for in previous issuances consistent with this Labor Advisory may also be adopted.

The above Alternative Work Schemes/Flexible Work Arrangements are temporary in nature and shall be adopted only during the public health crisis. 

WAGES AND WAGE-RELATED BENEFITS

Employers and employees may agree voluntarily and in writing to temporarily adjust employees’ wage and wage-related benefits as provided in existing employment contract, company policy or collective bargaining agreement (CBA).

The adjustments in wage and/or wage-related benefits shall  not exceed six (6) months or the period agreed upon in the collective bargaining agreement (CBA), of any. After such period, employers and employees shall review their agreement and may renew the same. 

COSTS OF PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT

The employer shall shoulder the cost of COVID-19 prevention and control measures such as but not limited to the following: testing, disinfection facilities, hand sanitizers, personal protective equipment (PPEs i.e., face mask), signages, proper orientation and training of workers including IEC materials on COVID-19 prevention and control. [See Labor Advisory No. 18]

Atty.Fred

3 thoughts on “Employment Preservation, Alternative Work Schemes, Flexible Work Arrangements, Wage and Benefits on Resumption of Business Operations

  1. AvatarRemedios A. Pascual

    Thank you for this information.

    A related question, can a private employer remove the giving of merit increase for the period already performed?

    Reply
    1. pnlpnl

      Hi Remedios. We cant give any legal advice in the absence of an attorney-client relationship. However, by way of general information, it is important to remember two things. One, the general rule is non-diminution of benefits. Second, in the instances when the DOLE allows the reduction of wages/benefits, the basic requirement is the written consent of both employer and employee. Refer to this post: https://pnl-law.com/blog/reducing-wages-salaries-during-the-lockdown-or-community-quarantine-period/

      Good luck.

  2. AvatarEleazar

    Good morning.

    Are employers obliged to let employees return to work in full capacity during MGCQ or can still practice rotation or skeletal?

    Reply

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