Guidelines for hazard pay, allowance of frontline health workers released
Joint Circulars Nos. 1 and 2, in relation to the release of the active hazard duty pay (AHDP) and special risk allowance (SRA) under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, was issued last Nov. 25 by the Departments of Budget and Management (DBM) and of Health (DOH).
The STAR/Michael Varcas

Guidelines for hazard pay, allowance of frontline health workers released

Mary Grace Padin (The Philippine Star) - November 29, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The government has released guidelines for granting hazard pay and allowances to healthcare workers risking their lives in the frontlines of the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Joint Circulars Nos. 1 and 2, in relation to the release of the active hazard duty pay (AHDP) and special risk allowance (SRA) under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, was issued last Nov. 25 by the Departments of Budget and Management (DBM) and of Health (DOH).

Under the first issuance, a hazard pay of P3,000 per month will be given to frontline health workers in the public sector.

These include civilian employees occupying regular, contractual or casual positions, and workers directly engaged by government agencies or local government units through contract or service or job order.

Joint Circular No. 2, meanwhile, states that public and private health workers providing critical and urgent services to respond to the COVID-19 health crisis are entitled to a special risk allowance not exceeding P5,000 per month.

The joint circulars, signed by Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, are consistent with Administrative Orders Nos. 35 and 36 issued by President Duterte last Nov. 16.

The DBM and DOH said frontliners and public health workers engaged without employer-employee relationship with agencies and funded from non-Personnel Services (PS) appropriations are excluded from the additional pay and allowance.

Both agencies also said that the grant of AHDP and SRA must be pro-rated based on the number of days a healthcare worker physically reports for work in a month.

The pay and allowance of personnel hired on a part-time basis in one or more agencies should be in direct proportion to the services rendered, provided that the pay received does not exceed the ceiling.

The DBM said funds for the hazard pay and special risk allowance had been released to the DOH as early as Oct. 27, sourced from identified savings pursuant to Republic Act 11494 or Bayanihan 2 law.

Meanwhile, the DBM has denied that it disapproved the payment of special risk allowance to the frontline health workers of the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH).

“With regard to the payment of the SRA for frontline health workers as authorized under Bayanihan 1, it is clarified that the letter dated Nov. 11, 2020 addressed to the UP president was not a disapproval letter,” the DBM stated.

“Instead, the letter affirmed that 1,918 frontline health workers of the UP-PGH are entitled to the SRA under Bayanihan 1 with a total funding requirement of P16.478 million,” it added.

The DBM said the payment of the SRA may be charged from the PS allotments of the UP System, which stood at P667.55 million as of June 30, 2020, net of estimated requirements until the end of the year.

“Since the UP-PGH is under the UP System, it has more than enough PS allotments to cover its SRA requirements. Should there be any deficiency in allotments to cover the payment of the SRA under Bayanihan 1, the DBM is committed to release the necessary funds,” the DBM said.

Under the Bayanihan 1 Law, the DBM has also released allotments amounting to P400 million to augment the operational budget of the UP-PGH. As of Nov. 17, obligations made from this release stood at P176.98 million, leaving an unobligated balance of P223.02 million.

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