Philippine government offices get greenlight to reduce on-site workforce

The news comes as the country sees record-breaking COVID-19 stats

Philippine government offices get greenlight to reduce on-site workforce

The Philippines has allowed government offices to reduce the number of employees reporting on-site amid the recent surge of COVID-19 cases. In the latest Memorandum Circular (MC) Number 94, signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, the government acknowledged that its offices are finding it difficult to comply with the minimum number on-site workforce because of the surge of COVID-19 cases among personnel and the need to observe isolation for close contacts.

Due to this, the government amended its MC No. 86 to allow the reduction of on-site workforce below the provided minimum and the temporary closure of premises as "extreme measures" and during situations where "the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace has become overwhelming and unmanageable." According to the latest MC, in order to reduce on-site workforce to temporarily close, the main or central office should ask for clearance from the head of the department supervising it.

"No reduction of on-site workforce or closure shall be implemented until such clearance is obtained from the head of the department," the circular read.

Read more: PH outlines safety tips for workplaces amid uptick in COVID cases

However, if agencies or instrumentalities are not attached to any department, the reduction of on-site workers or closures shall be requested to the Office of the President.

"Reduction of on-site workforce or temporary closures merely to conduct disinfection of premises shall not be allowed. Such activity shall be undertaken after office hours or on weekends," the circular said.

It added that even if the workforce is reduced or officers are suspended, the agencies shall ensure that there are still manned hotlines on-site or off-site that can respond to immediate concerns raised to them.

The circular came as cases continue to go up in the Philippines, which is recently tallying a record-high number of COVID-19 cases. On Monday, it recorded its highest single day increase of 33,169 new infections, with 157,526 active cases.

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