DOLE urges employers to use work from home option for workers

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has encouraged employers to use the work from home option in the face of the increase in COVID-19 cases.

According to data from the Bureau of Local Employment, which is the attached office of the DOLE, the number of work from home workers hit 37,434 in 2020.

In January 2021, there were 5,611, while it was 14,696 by February.

“We encourage them to do that to avoid contamination especially ‘yung transmission ng COVID. It’s a consensus between the worker and the employee. So sabi ko nga naiintindihan naman ng workers kalagayan ng employers so sa halip na mawalan ng trabaho ok na mabawasan number of work hours,” said Labor chief Silvestre Bello III.

But according to the Employers’ Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP), the number of workers working from home is high, especially since only a few industries such as Business Process Outsourcing and other types of work are available here.

“Subok na subok na ‘yan. Gamit na gamit na ‘yan, hindi na kayang dagdagan. Majority ng kompanya natin processing, manufacturing eh sino ang puwedeng work from home doon?” said ECOP chairman Sergio Ortiz-Luis.

ECOP also appealed not to blame workplaces for the new spread of COVID-19.

DOLE urges employers to use work from home option for workers

“What I understand is sa household ang transmission ngayon eh. Kasi ang workplace, talagang sumusunod silang lahat sa ano, protocols. At kapag nagkaroon ng positive [case] doon, sarado kaagad,” said Ortiz-Luis.

For example, in Quezon City, household is the number one source of transmission.

It is not known where the 2nd largest type of transmission came from. This was followed by the community, even before the workplaces.

DOLE chief Bello, on the other hand, agreed with Ortiz-Luis, especially since they have not received any reports of widespread transmission in the private sector.

In the Philippines, the unemployment rate in January remained the same as the October 2020 rate of 8.7 percent. This is the lowest since April 2020 but higher than the January 2020 rate of 5.3 percent.

In terms of magnitude, around 4.0 million Filipinos 15 years old and over were unemployed in January compared to 2.4 million in January 2020.