Duterte approves grant of special risk allowance

MANILA, Philippines, April 7 ------ President Duterte has approved the grant of a one-time special risk allowance to government health workers at the frontline of the fight against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The special risk allowance is equivalent to a maximum of 25 percent of the monthly basic pay of public health workers, according to Administrative Order No. 28 signed by the President yesterday. “There is a need to recognize the heroic and invaluable contributions of our public health workers throughout the country, who bravely and unselfishly risk their lives and health by being at the forefront of the national effort to address the public health emergency,” the order read. The special risk allowance is on top of the hazard pay granted under the Magna Carta of Public Health Workers. The order covers public health workers in the national government agencies, government-owned or controlled corporations, and in local government units “who have great exposure to health risks and physical hardships in the line of duty.” Beneficiaries of the allowance are medical, allied medical, and other necessary personnel assigned in hospitals and healthcare facilities and who are directly catering to or in contact with COVID-19 patients, persons under investigation or persons under monitoring. They should provide critical and urgent services to respond to the public health emergency during the implementation of the Luzon-wide lockdown, which started on March 17 and will end midnight of April 13. Health workers who are occupying regular, contractual, casual or part-time positions, engaged through contract of service or job order including barangay health workers, and who physically report for work at their assigned workstations on the prescribed official working hours are qualified to receive the allowance. The grant of the allowance shall be pro-rated based on the number of days that the health workers physically report for work during the quarantine period in their respective places of assignment beginning March 17. Those who physically reported for work from three to seven days will get 25 percent of the incentive while those who did so for eight to 12 days will receive half. Those who physically reported for 13 to 17 days will receive 75 percent of the incentive while those who did the same for 18 days or more will get 100 percent of the allowance. Excluded from the grant of the allowance are those who are not covered by an employer-employee relationship and whose compensations are funded by non-personnel services budgets including consultants and experts, laborers engaged through job contracts and those paid on piecework basis, student workers and apprentices and all individuals whose services are engaged through contract of service or job orders who are not assigned in hospitals. The amount required for personnel occupying regular, contractual, casual, or part-time positions in national agencies shall be charged against their available released personnel services allotments. The incentives for contract of service or job order workers will come from agencies’ maintenance and other operating expenses allotments. If these sources are not enough to cover the cost requirements, agencies may submit to the budget department a special budget request with a list of entitled personnel and the corresponding amounts required. For government-owned or controlled corporations, the amount will be charged against their corporate operating budgets. The grant of risk allowance to provincial and barangay health workers shall be determined by their respective sanggunians or local policymaking bodies depending on the local government unit’s financial capability. “Should there be insufficient funds to fully cover the COVID-19 SRA (special risk allowance), a lower but uniform rate may be granted for all qualified personnel,” the order read. Source: philstar.com