Senate Bill No. 2421 approved on third reading; Bill grants allowances and other benefits to frontliners amidst the pandemic

By Willem James Banaynal III

On Monday, January 31, the Senate passed on the third and final reading of Senate Bill No. 2421, which will grant various benefits to medical frontliners amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

If passed into law, the proposed COVID-19 Benefits and Allowances for Health Workers Act of 2021 will provide health workers, both in the public and private sectors, with allowances corresponding to their risk exposure.

Frontliners deployed in “low-risk” areas will receive ₱3,000, while those working in “medium-risk” and “high-risk” areas will be provided with ₱6,000 and ₱9,000, respectively.

As explained in the bill, health workers with low-risk exposure are those performing administrative duties in non-public areas of health facilities, while those with medium-risk exposure are workers who provide direct physical care to the general public who are not known or suspected COVID-19 patients.

Furthermore, health workers with high-risk exposure are those who directly provide care for COVID-19 patients.

These set allowances are in addition to the benefits provided under Republic Act No. 7305 or the Magna Carta of Public Health Workers, as well as other forms of hazard pay provided by private employers.

The bill will also provide frontliners with regular COVID-19 testing by PhilHealth, financial compensation to those who contracted the virus in the line of duty, and full PhilHealth coverage for direct healthcare costs.

With regards to the financial compensation, the bill states that ₱15,000 will be granted to health workers with a mild or moderate case of COVID-19, while ₱100,000 will be provided to those with severe or critical cases.

In the case of death due to the virus, one million pesos will be provided to the family of the covered individuals.

These measures will also apply to non-medical workers and outsourced personnel who are assigned in areas or health facilities exposed to COVID-19.

The benefits stated in this bill will have a retroactive application from July 1, 2021, and these will remain in effect all throughout the state of national public health emergency, as declared by President Rodrigo Duterte.

References

CNN Philippines Staff. (2022, January 31). Senate, House OK bills granting COVID-19 benefits to health workers. CNN Philippines. Retrieved from https://cnnphilippines.com/news/2022/1/31/senate-bill-covid-benefits-health-workers.html 

Yang, A. (2022, February 1). Senate approves on third reading bill granting allowances, benefits to COVID-19 health workers. The Philippine Star. Retrieved from https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2022/02/01/2157836/senate-approves-third-reading-bill-granting-allowances-benefits-covid-19-health-workers 

Photo source: REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez