Employees who suffer from disability or death due to injuries sustained while working from home may now avail benefits under the Employees’ Compensation Program (ECP) after the Employees’ Compensation Commission (ECC) approved Board Resolution No. 21-03-09.

The board resolution, which was approved on March 11 by the ECC governing board, creates a policy on the compensability of disability or death due to injuries sustained by the employees in the public and private sector while in the performance of their duties or assigned tasks in their residences or dwelling places.

ECC’s Executive Director Stella Zipagan-Banawis believes it is high time for the Commission to issue the policy in recognition of the new and alternative avenues employees carry out their work.

“As the policy arm of the ECP, we want to make sure that our program remains relevant and responsive to the needs of our workers and the demands of their working environment. The ECC saw a need to initiate this policy in response to the changing landscape of work and definition of workplace, propelled by the development in telecommunications and innovations in computer technology,” she said.

Banawis also said that the CoViD-19 pandemic has pushed industries to rethink their work arrangements. Following the declaration of a state of public health emergency and state of calamity in the Philippines, many companies and agencies in the public and private sectors have adopted work-from-home arrangement to safeguard the health of their employees and minimize the transmission of the virus. As such, many workers are performing their duties and tasks at home.

“Employees who are working from home are not exempted from possible work-connected disabilities or deaths due to injury-related incidents. We need to extend our benefits to cover work-connected injury or death that they may suffer while in the performance of their duties or specific tasks at their residences or dwelling places,” Banawis added.

Under Board Resolution No. 21-03-09, disability or death due to injuries sustained by the employees while working from home will be compensable under the ECP, provided that there is a written directive or order from his or her employer requiring a work-from-home arrangement or the performance of a specific tasks within a specified period at the residence or dwelling place of the employee.

Under the EC Program, workers who suffer from work-related sickness, injury, or death is entitled to EC benefits such as loss of income benefits, medical benefits, and death and funeral benefits. Persons with work-related disabilities may also avail of rehabilitation services under the Katulong at Gabay sa Manggagawang may Kapansanan (KaGabay) Program. The rehabilitation services include free physical, speech, or occupational therapy, assistive devices, and livelihood training and financial assistance.

“We hope, with this new policy, we can provide more assistance to our workers and address their needs especially during this trying time,” Banawis said.

The ECC continues to urge the public to practice safety precautions through proper wearing of face masks and face shield, regular hand washing, and staying home as much as possible to prevent the spread of CoViD-19. End/ECC 12