Bill seeking 5-day paid calamity leave for disaster-stricken workers pushed in Senate

Robie de Guzman

MANILA, Philippines – Detained Senator Leila de Lima has filed a bill seeking to provide a five-day special emergency leave for workers affected by natural calamities.

In filing Senate Bill No. 1123, De Lima proposes to grant disaster-stricken employees special emergency leave with pay.

It shall be made available upon the declaration of a state of calamity by the President or by the local government pursuant to Section 16 of Republic Act 10121.

In the absence of such declaration, the bill states that employers would have the discretion to grant the leave.

“It is incumbent upon the State to allow workers to protect not only themselves and their families but also their properties, in times of natural calamities or disasters,” she said in a statement.

Individuals eligible for a “calamity leave” include those who are either stranded or sick due to typhoons, earthquakes and other natural disasters, as well as those who are taking care of immediate family members or are repairing and cleaning up their damaged house.

To protect both the employer and the employee, De Lima said the availment of calamity leave “shall be limited to the grounds and circumstances, and only upon compliance with the requirements set forth and in conformity with the issued guidelines.”

The senator believes that the proposed measure would both aid Filipinos to stand up after the onslaught of calamities and disasters and provide them a few days of respite to facilitate the resumption of their daily activities.

“The profound environmental effect of natural disasters and/or calamities to the nation is inevitable, and it for that reason this proposed measure seeks to at the very least soften the blow of the unforeseen and the inescapable,” she said.

De Lima issued the statement in the wake of recent earthquakes that devastated parts of Mindanao, leaving more than 20 people dead and destroying thousands of infrastructures.

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