LIST: Companies promise full salaries, early benefits for workers under Luzon-wide quarantine

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 20) — A number of conglomerates and other retail brands have committed to pay workers' salaries in full even if business operations have shut, as the government sought to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Big companies have stepped up especially after President Rodrigo Duterte's call last Monday for businesses to be compassionate towards their employees, who may have nothing left to fend for their families during the month-long shutdown in Luzon.

All residents have been placed under strict home quarantine, while workers have limited options to get to their jobs with public transportation suspended. Exempted from the travel restrictions are those working in critical sectors like healthcare, banks, supermarkets, pharmacies, and the media.

Here's a list of businesses and their pledges to their employees:

Ayala Group

Ayala Corporation was among the first to reveal its ₱2.4-billion emergency response package for the pandemic, which provides for wages, bonuses, leave conversions, and loan deferments for its employees and extended workforce.

The aid is targeted mostly for their no work, no pay personnel, which include service providers, construction workers, security agencies, and retail workers. For them, a salary continuance budget of ₱600 million has been earmarked, while its subsidiary Globe Telecom also set aside ₱270 million for support staff.

Jollibee Group

Jollibee Foods Corporation unveiled a ₱1 billion support package for its employees for financial aid during the quarantine period. All work teams across brands, commissaries, and logistics centers would receive financial assistance, including special hires senior citizens and persons with disabilities.

The emergency fund would allot for the workers' full month salary plus their 13th month pay by April 30. The group earlier pledged a ₱100 million in-kind donation to supply food frontline workers.

McDonald's Philippines

Golden Arches Development Corporation, the parent company of McDonald's in the country, unveiled a ₱500-million response fund for employees and communities most affected by the Luzon shutdown.

Only a few McDonald's branches have remained open for takeout and delivery transactions under the stricter quarantine protocol. The fund will cover full salaries for restaurant crew and managers even if they cannot come to work, premium payment for those who go on duty, and special kits composed of face masks, alcohol, and vitamins for employees who will man the stores.

The money will also cover food donations to health workers, local government representatives, volunteers, and the poor, according to company chairman George Yang.

MVP Group

All employees of businesses run by Manny Pangilinan would be receiving their full pay and continued benefits, while leave credits would not be used during the one-month quarantine. Work-from-home arrangements have been identified, while employees would also received vitamin tablets.

Pangilinan's moneymaking firms PLDT, Smart, and Meralco would also be getting their full 13th month pay in advance, in a bid to help families cope with the costs of this work stoppage.

SM Group

The country's biggest mall chain SM said all of its employees will get their regular pay while frontliners, security guards and janitors will get emergency financial aid worth ₱5,000. All employees would have their leave credits intact, while those who continue to report for duty will receive premiums.

The Sy family earlier announced a ₱100-million donation to help government hospitals in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, mainly for medical frontliners and testing kits.

San Miguel Corporation

San Miguel President Ramon Ang assured as early as Monday that all workers would conitnue to get paid even if operations have been temporarily halted.

Aboitiz Group

The Aboitiz Group announced Friday that it has set aside ₱900 million in aid to its more than 11,000 workers, which involves the early release of their end-March salary as well as 13th and even 14th month benefits.

The conglomerate also pledged to cover any medical expenses incurred by a team member due to COVID-19.

Udenna Group

The empire owned by businessman Dennis Uy has pledged to release half of employees' 13th month pay plus a portion of their yearend bonus this early to support them at this time of need.

Cebu Landmasters

The Soberano-owned Cebu Landmasters Inc. has also offered to release the 14th month pay of workers early to support workers, while most employees would go under flexible work arrangement as quarantine protocols are being tightened in Visayas and Mindanao, where they operate.

Belo Medical Group

Cosmetic surgeon Dra. Vicki Belo announced earlier this week that she will give full salary and benefits to company employees despite the work suspension, and will be releasing their 13th month pay ahead of schedule to help them out.

Vice Cosmetics

TV host Vice Ganda, who owns a cosmetics line, also announced that her more than 400 employees will be getting their 13th month pay early, loans would be deferred, while cash assistance will be extended to them.

On Friday, the Budget Department announced that all job order and contractual workers in government will be receiving complete salaries for the month even if they could not report to work. Those who are forced to come in as part of an agency's skeletal workforce may get additional pay.

Mall rentals waived

Rental fees in Ayala Malls would be waived from March 16 to April 14, which would translate to about ₱1.4 billion. The group said this should allow tenants to "provide the much-needed financial support for their employees during this period."

Those leasing spaces in Megaworld Lifestyle Malls will also get a reprieve, with the company waiving rental fees until April 12. Among their popular properties are Eastwood City, Uptown Bonifacio in Taguig, and Lucky Chinatown in Manila.

Robinsons Land will also remove fees for tenants forced by the quarantine protocol to close.

Tenant fees in SM malls would also be waived from March 16 to April 14, with the group hoping that business owners will extend support to their own employees in this time of need.