AN easing of quarantine to a more relaxed setting is expected to allow more than 100,000 people to return to full-time work, the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) said.
Labor Assistant Secretary Dominique R. Tutay said the additions to the full-time workers will consist largely of those who were relegated to flexible working arrangements by the pandemic. An easing to a quarantine setting known as Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ) will allow such workers to work five or six days a week.
“Kung luluwagan po natin, 108,000 po ang maaaring tuluyan na rin pong maging five days a week na sila or six days a week, at iyong mga nasa temporary closure po ay maaari na rin pong makabalik (An easing of the quarantine will allow 108,000 to return to a five or six-day work week, while businesses that closed temporarily are likely to resume operations),” she said at a televised briefing Friday.
President Rodrigo R. Duterte rejected a proposal put forward by his economic planners to reset the quarantine to MGCQ, the most relaxed form, with the President citing the detection in the Philippines of a new coronavirus strain.
The National Economic and Development Authority had pushed for the reopening of the economy to curb joblessness and hunger. It estimated the average income loss per worker at about P23,000.
Ms. Tutay said about 25,226 workers were laid off in January due to the impact of the nearly year-long pandemic.
In its January job displacement report, DoLE said 91% or 1,279 establishments have decided to reduce staffing while the remaining 9% or 142 establishments reported that they have permanently closed.
Ms. Tutay said DoLE’s proposal for a three-month wage subsidy has been sent to the Office of the President for approval. The package ia designed to assist businesses retain their workforces.
“Ito pong proposed wage subsidy po, ang gusto po natin dito ay ma–preserve po iyong employment ng ating mga kababayan lalung-lalo na po iyong mga nasa temporarily closed na company, mayroon pong about 2.5 million na mga manggagawa po na affected po diyan (This wage subsidy is designed to preserve jobs especially at businesses that had to temporarily close, a segment which affects about 2.5 million workers),” she said.
Ms. Tutay said DoLE’s unused funds from the 2020 budget and savings under the second stimulus law may be realigned to fund the wage subsidy program. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza