Bello mulls higher compensation for work-related illnesses

Mayen Jaymalin (The Philippine Star) – December 21, 2020 – 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Aside from kasambahay or house helpers, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is also looking to provide higher compensation to employees who may suffer from work-related illness or injury.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello has urged the Employees Compensation Commission (ECC) to raise the existing compensation for work-related injuries and illness.

In a virtual briefing last Thursday, Bello reported that the ECC has released some P827 million compensation for about 80,000 workers this year.

He said the ECC also granted a total of P20.7 million cash assistance to 2,000 frontliners who got sick or died as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But Bello said the compensation extended to frontliners – and other workers who got injured or died in the performance of their duties – is “too small.”

“Look at ECC. They have P90 billion. You know how the ECC increased their money? They give very little to workers. Imagine, we are talking of employees’ compensation,” Bello noted in Filipino.

“How much are they giving? P10,000. You can’t even buy medicine (with that), susmaryosep. It should be more,” Bello added.

Since the P90 billion fund of ECC is deposited in banks and earning much in interest, Bello said the Commission should extend higher compensation.

“The money is languishing at the bank. They’re (ECC) profits are high, but they’re denying workers even the smallest of benefits,” Bello pointed out.

Bello suggested for the ECC to grant workers who will suffer work-related injury or illness a minimum of P50,000 in compensation.

The ECC is mandated to deliver compensation package to workers from both public and private sector in the event of work-related contingencies.

The labor chief previously asked the National Wages and Productivity Commission to consider setting P6,000 as the minimum wage for house helpers nationwide.

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