Operating your business in the Philippines New Normal

May 8, 2020

As the Philippines economy contracts for the first time in 22 years, the government is weighing options on restarting the economy in what has been defined as the new normal. While the timeline is unclear, previously it was expected that the Enhanced Quarantine that has currently placed the majority of the Philippines on strict lockdown would be lifted on May 15th.

Whatever the exact date it is clear companies are eager to get their offices back open and restart operations.

Safety, being the number one priority in re-opening of the Economy, the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Labor and Employment have released guidelines for businesses that will resume operations.

Depending on your industry, your company may be placed still on strict work from home guidelines (these include high-risk areas like movie theatres, bars, and gyms), otherwise, you may expect anywhere from 50 to 100% of your staff to be coming into the office.

Some of the new requirements for those returning to the office.

  1. Face masks. The wearing of face masks must be done by Employers and workers at all times. Face masks shall only be removed when eating and drinking.  Employers must make these face masks readily available to their employees.
  2. Everday, Workers must accomplish daily health symptoms form, and undergo temperature check.
  3. Employers must provide DOLE a monthly reporting of illness, disease and injuries using the DOLE work accident/illness report form (WAIR). This will encompass all illnesses experienced by your employees.
  4. Temperature check must be done at the entrance of the office an Employees with a temperature over 37.5 degrees will not be allowed to enter. This staff must be placed into isolation and a clinic staff assigned to assess the workers in isolation area shall be provided with the appropriate medical gear.
  5. Every 2 hours, mandatory disinfection for equipment or vehicles entering the company premises, including facilities, and touched objects, such as doorknobs and handles.
  6. Limit eating in communal areas as much as possible, otherwise, employers shall ensure one worker per table and one-meter distance per worker scheme.
  7. Meetings and conversations are discouraged.
  8. Incoming visitors must accomplish the “visitor health checklist form.”
  9. Private firms are mandated to implement alternative work arrangements, such as working-hour shifts, work from home (WFH), where feasible, and on a rotation basis.
  10. Employers must provide shuttle services, decent accommodation or both in near-site locations to lessen travel and people movement.
  11. Workers suspected of having COVID-I9 must be brought to the nearest hospital, if needed.
  12. Most “at risk” workers and vulnerable groups, or those 60 years old or of any age with co-morbidities or pre-existing illness, such as hypertension, diabetes, cancer, or with immunocompromised health status; or with high-risk pregnancy are encouraged to do work from home.

Many businesses will have to implement many new HR processes and policies to handle the changes to operating companies in the Philippines. As businesses need to focus on bouncing back and recovering these extra (albeit necessary) requirements may hamper operations.

Triple i Consulting is here to help, our legal, HR and business consultants can assist organizations with setting up a new company in the Philippines or regulatory compliance in the Philippines. Please reach out to us at info@tripleiconsulting.com 

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