Senator Risa Hontiveros Monday called on the government 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.
She related that everyday, 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.
“Our health professionals and other frontliners against COVID-19 do not need only face masks and protective wear. They also need additional takehome pay to, compensate for their efforts,” she said.
Under Republic Act 7305 or the Magna Carta of Public Health Workers, she said 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.
“Hazard pay should be immediately given to our 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 that hazard pay must be likewise granted to government employees who ensure that key public services continue to function despite the outbreak.
“Let us also not forget our traffic enforcers, policemen, soldiers, immigration officers, barangay tanod, office clerks and other government workers who have been directly helping the people.” she said.
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.