The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), have issued a joint memorandum providing for work protocols in medium to large scale business with total assets exceeding P15 million.

Under the memorandum, the companies covered by the policy are required to, among others, provide shuttle services to their employees using government endorsed vehicles.

The joint memorandum circular 20-04-A “Supplemental Guidelines on Workplace Prevention and Control of COVID-19” was issued August 15 to assist private institutions in developing minimum health protocols due to COVID-19.

Provincial director Hazel Salvador said that this will be included in the joint monitoring of DTI and DOLE every second and fourth week of the month. The two agencies started the monitoring in June based on the initial guidelines issued.

“We want to help the MSMEs comply with the guidelines set kasi nga ito ay para sa kaligtasan ng lahat at the same time makapag-operate ng business para sa pagkakakitaan at pagtakbo ng ekonomiya,” she said in a text message to Palawan News.

These businesses are also mandated to provide isolation areas other than the existing company clinics.

“These may be offered for free or for a reasonable fare (if not LTFRB-approved public transport rates), after proper consultations with the employees,” the memorandum stated.

Minimum health standards must be strictly implemented inside the shuttle service such as wearing face mask and face shields at all the time, physical distancing and frequent sanitation and disinfection.

Similar to shuttle services, the same health standards must also be implemented within the workplace areas.

Face shields must be worn together when interacting with colleagues, clients or visitors; and may only be removed due to demands of works or when the occupational safety of the employees requires.

Display of visual cues or signages are also mandatory to remind the employees to practice proper hand washing and other hygiene behavior.

Adequate ventilation both in workplace and service shuttle must be strictly enforced.

Staggered meal schedules to lessen the contact among employees must be adopt and dining in canteens may be allowed provided with a meter distance to each employees.

Employees and visitors shall be required to accomplish a health declaration form and shall be handled and processed in accordance with the Data Privacy Act.

Designated smoking areas shall also be provided with individual booths.

Employers also need to provide psychosocial support to their workforce and shall promote work-life balance.