DOLE proposes subsidy for employers to secure jobs of workers

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 2) — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) wants to subsidize employers to cushion the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on job security.

"Our proposal is to subsidize our employers by 25 to 50 percent provided that they retain their employees or even increase their employees," Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said in an online Palace briefing.

With the subsidy, businesses and other establishments can add 20 to 30 percent of their workforce, generating additional employment, Bello explained.

More than 2.7 million workers have been displaced due to quarantine measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus. About 70 percent lost their jobs due to temporary closure of businesses, while the remaining 20 percent were displaced due to failure to meet flexible work arrangement, Bello said.

"Hopefully 'yung mga nag-temporary close, they will start operating as soon as mawala itong COVID-19 (Hopefully those that temporarily closed will start operating as soon as COVID-19 crisis is over)," the labor chief said.

DOLE has given a ₱5,000 cash assistance to more than 1 million workers in the country as of May.

A total of 145,000 overseas Filipino workers also received aid, Bello said.

Helping displaced OFWs

All in all, more than 343,000 OFWs are affected by COVID-19, Bello said. But most of them prefer to stay in other countries instead of returning home, he added.

READ: 1 million OFWs seen to be displaced until end of 2021— Labor dep’t

The government has received more than 450,000 requests for financial assistance, Bello also said, noting that 30 to 40 percent of the requests have been approved.

The labor chief said his department may ask the national government for more funding since it now has a remaining fund of only ₱1.1 billion -- with more OFWs needing assistance.

READ: Cash aid tops government's ₱353-B expenses for COVID-19 response

More than 16,000 OFWs are expected to return to the country this month. They will be asked to undergo the mandatory 14-day quarantine to be cleared of coronavirus infection before being sent back to their home provinces. The government is offering construction jobs and livelihood assistance for them.