By Wilnard Bacelonia

BRAVING THE HOT WEATHER. Workers brave the scorching heat as they wait for a ride along Elliptical Road in Quezon City on Feb. 19, 2024. Senator Jinggoy Estrada on Monday (April 8) urged employers to consider providing their workers with additional incentives or benefits amid extreme weather conditions. (PNA photo by Joan Bondoc)

MANILA – A lawmaker on Monday urged employers to consider going beyond the minimum requirements outlined in the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Advisory No. 17-2022, and provide their workers with additional incentives or benefits amid extreme weather conditions.

“Providing additional incentives or benefits to those who brave the heat to keep our economy running during weather disturbances is fair and shows our commitment to their well-being,” Senator Jinggoy Estrada said in a statement.

The chairperson of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources noted that under the DOLE advisory, workers may opt not to report for work to avoid the scorching heat, but will not get paid for the day.

The advisory further provides that if an employee fails or refuses to work because of imminent danger that weather disturbances may cause, is free from administrative sanction.

The employee will only be entitled to regular pay when there is a favorable company policy, practice, or collective bargaining agreement granting payment of wages on the said day, or if the employee opts to use
accumulated leave credits.

Estrada said he appreciates the flexibility provided by the advisory but emphasized the importance of ensuring that workers are not “unfairly burdened.”

“We cannot overlook the financial strain that this places on workers. Under the DOLE policy, allowing employees to utilize their accrued leave credits is a step in the right direction. But we must likewise consider those who no longer have sufficient leave balances. In this situation, I urge employers to exercise compassion and understanding during extreme weather conditions,” the lawmaker said.

PNP takes caution

Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police (PNP) has advised regional commanders to ensure the protection of police officers and other field personnel from the effects of scorching temperatures.

“Yung buddy system ay ipatupad para from to time ay nakakasilong din yung ating mga kapulisan particularly yung nagpapatrol sa gitna ng araw. Hindi naman sila pinagbabawalan sumilong lalo at nasa katirikan ng araw (We would enforce a buddy system so that our personnel can take shelter under a shade from time to time, especially those on patrol duties while under the sun. We are not prohibiting them from doing so, especially when the sun is up),” PNP spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo said in a press briefing.

Fajardo said the PNP Health Service is going around to check the conditions of police officers in outposts and assistance desk.

Police officers have also been provided with water bottles, canisters and gallons for them to stay hydrated.

“Ang bilin sa kanila kung saka-sakali makaramdam ng hilo ay sumilong muna at advisan yung kanilang (Our advice is for them to stay under a shade when they feel dizzy and advise their) patrol supervisor if there is a need to bring them to the nearest clinic or hospital para maiwasan yung anumang mas mabigat na problema (so that we can avoid worse problems),” Fajardo said. (with Lloyd Caliwan/PNA)