Duterte approves hazard pay grant, special risk allowance for COVID-19 health frontliners

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 16) — Frontline health workers responding to the COVID-19 crisis will receive additional benefits after President Rodrigo Duterte signed two administrative orders on Monday.

Under Administrative Order No. 35, human resources for health will be granted a monthly active hazard duty pay of up to ₱3,000. These are medical, allied medical and other personnel in the public sector who physically report to work and are on the frontlines of the government’s health care response to the pandemic.

Meanwhile, Duterte also authorized through Administrative Order No. 36 the monthly grant of a special risk allowance of up to ₱5,000 for private and public health workers “who directly cater to or are in contact with” infected patients.

Both grants are apart from similar benefits under existing laws and shall be exempt from income tax.

These additional payments will also be pro-rated based on the number of days that the workers physically report to work in a month, and will cover the Sept. 15 to Dec. 19, 2020 time period.

Excluded from the grants are “those engaged without employer-employee relationship and funded from non-personnel services appropriations or budgets," the directives read.

These include consultants and experts engaged for a limited period to perform specific tasks; laborers who are hired through job contracts (or pakyaw) and those paid on a piecework basis; student workers and apprentices; and those whose services are engaged through a contract of service or job order and are not assigned to work at health facilities.

Funding for the implementation of the two orders will be sourced from the ₱13.5 billion appropriated under Section 10(a) of the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act.

According to the latest Department of Health data, over 409,000 people in the country have already fallen ill with COVID-19. Of this number, 27,369 are active cases, after taking into account 374,366 patients who already recovered and 7,839 others who died.