Thursday, June 1

Assistance for workers during calamities

PROVIDING assistance to workers who suffered injury, contracted illness, and/or died in the performance of their duty, especially in critical times, are essential in ensuring workers’ security and protection. The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) recognizes the government’s provision of financial assistance to those harmed or killed on duty in times of calamity or disaster through the Employee’s Compensation Program implemented by the Employee’s Compensation Commission (ECC).

Government workers, private sector employees, self-employed individuals, house helpers, and sea-based overseas workers may avail of the said benefit. For government workers, all compulsory members of Government Service Insurance System or GSIS, including uniformed personnel, are qualified to receive financial assistance if they suffer work-related sickness, injury, or death when responding to or working during a calamity. For those in the private sector, the companies can apply for calamity assistance on behalf of the employees through the Social Security System.

The benefit for government personnel is P200 per day while employees in the private sector can claim up to P480 per day. CHR also notes that ECC has processed a total of 20,000 claims for sickness and funeral aid for workers who contracted Covid-19 during the height of the pandemic.

In line with the right to security of workers, this form of compensation is worth citing, especially during periods of crisis and disaster when many vulnerable workers are pushed further into a disadvantageous situation. For government personnel who are expected to deliver critical public service and make necessary sacrifices when there is a calamity, the program helps provide protection and security amid risks and hazards. For private employees and self-employed workers, it helps assure them and their families of financial assistance especially when they’re on duty during high-risk situations, such as the onslaught of typhoons, earthquakes, and other calamities.

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During this period of recovery and amid high inflation, it is imperative to provide concrete assurance and swift aid for all workers and their families who suffered compounding vulnerability due to the harm suffered while on duty in a time of catastrophe. (Statement of the Commission on Human Rights in recognition of government assistance for workers hurt, harmed, or killed on duty during calamities)