Amidst the Taal volcano eruption, the government had to suspend the classes and government work on January 13, 2020. The government “highly encouraged” the private sector to do the same and suspend work for their employees. While some companies complied, some others didn’t.
“BPO companies and all other businesses running around and nearby the vicinity of the Taal Volcano must be considerate enough to put the best interest, welfare and safety of their workers on top of its priority at all cost,” said Christian Lloyd Magsoy, Defend Job Philippines spokesperson.
He added, “We would like to remind companies and employers that we already have a law — the RA11058 or the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Law — that penalizes companies who will proven to fail OSH standards and in taking care of their workers’ safety in this time of disaster.”
If the employer will not suspend work despite the official calamity announcement, will the company be liable?
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) which is the policy-coordinating arm of the Executive department mandated to formulate policies and implement programs in the field of labor and employment released an advisory as follows:
It can be said that when it comes to SUSPENSION of work, the employers have the prerogative to declare or not declare. However, private employees who cannot go to work by reason of imminent danger resulting from natural or man-made calamity shall not be exposed to or subject to any administrative sanctions. An employee who cannot go to work because of dangers from natural or man-made calamity cannot be penalized just because he/she was not able to go to work.
Are you allowed to absent from work because of a calamity?
The answer is yes. However, we recommend you inform your immediate superior or head as soon as possible. Informing your superior is not only a sign of courtesy but also of prudence. You do not want to be tagged as on “AWOL”. Depending on your company policy, your absence may be considered as a calamity or as emergency leave.
Here’s to hoping everything is great with you. More power!