Injured remote workers to be compensated

The policy addresses the ‘changing landscape of work’

Injured remote workers to be compensated

Remote workers in the Philippines who sustain or die from injuries in connection with their work-from-home status will now be entitled to benefits. The updated coverage is a reaction to the “changing landscape of work” amid the pandemic, said the Employees’ Compensation Commission (ECC). However, the benefits can only be claimed if the employee was required to work remotely.

“Disability or death due to injuries sustained will be compensable under the ECP (Employees’ Compensation Program), provided there is a written directive or order from his or her employer requiring a work-from-home arrangement or the performance of specific tasks within a specified period at the residence or dwelling place of the employee,” Board Resolution No. 21-03-09 stated.

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Coverage includes unemployment, medical and death/funeral benefits. “Employees who are working from home are not exempted from possible work-connected disabilities or death due to injury-related incidents,” said Stella Zipagan-Banawis, executive director of the ECC. “We need to extend our benefits to cover work-connected injury or death that they may suffer while in the performance of their duties or specific tasks at their residences or dwelling places.

“Many companies and agencies in the public and private sectors have adopted work-from-home arrangement to safeguard the health of their employees and minimize the transmission of the virus. As such, many workers are performing their duties and tasks at home,” she said. “The ECC saw a need to initiate this policy in response to the changing landscape of work and definition of workplace, propelled by the development in telecommunications and innovations in computer technology.”

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Zipagan-Banawis believes the policy is necessary given how the current COVID-19 climate has prompted a massive switch to teleworking. “As the policy arm of the ECP, we want to make sure that our programme remains relevant and responsive to the needs of our workers and the demands of the working environment,” she said.

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