A Guide to Dealing with Suspension of Work Due to Calamities

Nicolas and De Vega Law Offices - DOLE Advisory work suspension during calamities

Work Suspension due to Calamities

The first quarter of the year 2020 bore witness to a series of disasters and calamities.  From bushfires, acts of terrorism to volcano eruptions, earthquakes, typhoons and now COVID 19. Whether natural or man-made, these calamities have adverse effects on business establishments.  Employers are subjected to mental gymnastics on whether to hold or suspend work while employees debate over reporting for work or merely staying safe at home.  In view of the recent spate of calamities, the Philippine Department of Labor & Employment (“DOLE”) issued on 13 January 2020 Labor Advisory No. 01.

New Department of Labor and Employment Labor Advisory on Work Suspension

The Advisory gave the employers wide latitude to exercise their management prerogative on whether to suspend work to ensure the safety and health of their employees during man-made or natural calamities. In such case, if the employee does not work during such time, he will not be paid, unless there is a company policy or agreement to the contrary.  If the employee has accrued leave benefits, he or she may be allowed to utilize such leaves. Consequently, unlike students who can rejoice if there is suspension of classes, those in the labor force cannot do so because suspension of work will result in non-payment of wage for such day.

However, if the employee reports for work, he shall be paid his wage. There is no requirement to pay extra for work rendered during such day.  Nevertheless, employers are encouraged to provide extra incentives or benefits to the industrious employees who report for work despite the existence of these calamities.

What if the Employee Does not Report for Work?

It must be emphasized that DOLE reminded the employers that employees who fail or refuse to work by reason of imminent danger resulting from these calamities, should not be exposed to administrative sanction.  The operative phrase here is “by reason of imminent danger”.  Thus, the presence of a calamity cannot give employees the license to be absent from work and be free from sanctions.  It is only when there is imminent danger can the employee be free from punishment for his absence. Thus, employees are advised not to carelessly invoke this excuse without proof of imminent danger.

This is how to deal with suspension of work in the Philippines due to man-made or natural calamities.

About Nicolas and De Vega Law Offices

If you need assistance with labor-related issues, compliance with DOLE issuances, and help in the enforcement of company employment policies,   we can help you. Nicolas and de Vega Law Offices is a full-service law firm in the Philippines.  You may visit us at the 16th Flr., Suite 1607 AIC Burgundy Empire Tower, ADB Ave., Ortigas Center, 1605 Pasig City, Metro Manila, Philippines.  You may also call us at +632 84706126, +632 84706130, +632 84016392 or e-mail us at [email protected]. Visit our website www.ndvlaw.com.