DOLE report: 3.8M workers displaced by COVID-19

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    THE Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) yesterday said over 3.8 million workers have been displaced by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak and the subsequent community lockdowns imposed by the government.

    In the latest Job Displacement Report, the DOLE said a total of 3,863,971 workers have been adversely affected by the health crisis, as of October 25. The numbers include those displaced due to retrenchment, permanent closures, temporary closures, and implementation of flexible work arrangements.

    The report showed that a total of 256,285 workers were rendered jobless after 15,549 businesses opted to reduce their workers.

    It also showed that a total of 1,751 firms permanently closed and left 29,365 employees jobless.

    The DOLE report also stated that a total of 2,094,036 employees stopped working when 86,954 establishments temporarily closed shops.

    There were also 1,484,285 workers that were adversely affected when 36,851 companies implemented flexible work arrangements.

    To recall, the COVID-19 pandemic prompted the government to impose different levels of community lockdowns since March.

    The National Capital Region had the most number of displaced workers with 152,951.

    Other regions with high number of affected workers are CALABARZON (44,634), Central Luzon (27,808), and Central Visayas (26,595).

    The month of October has already seen the highest number of displaced workers with 69,501 from 4,954 business establishments.

    Coming at second is the month of June with 50,589 workers displaced from 2,602 firms.
    Also, the DOLE has heeded the call of the employers sector to extend the six-month rehiring policy provided under the Labor Code for another six months.

    Based on Department Order No. 215-2020, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said DOLE is allowing the extension of the rehiring policy for temporarily displaced workers for another six months.

    “In case of declaration of war, pandemic, and similar national emergencies, the employer and the employees, through the union, if any, or with the assistance of the DOLE, shall meet in good faith for the purpose of extending the suspension of employment for a period not exceeding six months,” said Bello.

    He stressed that, under such an extension, employees will not lose employment if they find alternative employment during the extended suspension of employment, except in cases of voluntary resignation.

    Bello also said that should retrenchment be necessary, before or after the expiration of the extension, the affected workers shall be entitled to separation pay as prescribed by the Labor Code, company policies, or collective bargaining agreement.

    The labor chief said retrenched employees must have priority in the rehiring, if they indicate their desire to resume their work not later than a month from the resumption of operations.

    Finally, in adopting such an extension, DOLE said the employer must report to the former, through its regional offices, 10 days prior to its effectivity, subject to inspections.

    Under the Labor Code, the employer-employee relationship may be suspended in case of suspension of operation of the business or undertaking of the employer for a period not exceeding six months.

    If not rehired after six months, the Labor Code provides that the employee placed on floating status must be provided with their separation pay.

    Recently, employers appealed for an extension of the policy for another six months citing the adverse effects of the health crisis to their businesses.