Pursuant to Department of Labor and Employment (“DOLE”) Labor Advisory No. 18, series of 2020, employers, including contractors or subcontractors in the private sector, shall shoulder the cost of COVID-19 prevention and control measures, such as, but not limited to, testing, disinfection facilities, hand sanitizers, personal protective equipment (i.e.,face masks), signages, and proper orientation and training of workers on COVID-19 prevention and control. No cost related or incidental to COVID-19 prevention and control measures shall be charged directly or indirectly to workers.
However, in the case of contracts for construction projects as well as for security, janitorial, and other services, the cost of COVID-19 prevention and control measures shall be borne by the principals or clients of the construction or service contractor. Provisions of existing contracts inconsistent with the guidelines in the DOLE Advisory shall be deemed amended accordingly.
As for the cost of COVID-19 testing, DOLE Department Order No. 233, series of 2022 (“DO 233”) further provides that pursuant to the policy of the State to afford full protection to labor, promote full employment, and guarantee that no person shall be denied equal access to equal employment opportunities, qualified newly-hired jobseekers who are required to secure a negative RT-PCR result among the pre-employment requirements are entitled to a one-time grant of free COVID-19 testing. A newly-hired jobseeker refers to jobseekers qualified by any employer for domestic or foreign employment and compliant with the pre-employment requirements. Newly-hired jobseekers across all sectors, hired after the effectivity of DO 233 and those employed beginning February 1, 2022, but yet to assume position due to lack of negative RT-PCR test results, and compliant with the pre-employment requirements, are qualified to avail themselves of the testing subsidy under DO 233, subject to compliance with the requirements set forth in the issuance. The following preference shall be followed in granting the subsidy: [a] newly-hired jobseekers in private domestic establishments; [b] agency-hired overseas workers set for deployment; and [c] newly-appointed employee in any branch or instrumentality of the government.