DOLE lifts COVID-19 restrictions for child workers

Rhodina Villanueva - The Philippine Star
DOLE lifts COVID-19 restrictions for child workers
Individuals wear face masks as they go around the city of Manila on May 2, 2023.
STAR / Edd Gumban

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has lifted all restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic for children under 18 years of age who are working in the public entertainment or information sector.

In its Labor Advisory No. 18-2023, DOLE said it is revoking all previous COVID-19 restrictions provided under Labor Advisory Nos. 23-2020, 24-2020 and 22-2021.

“The following Labor Advisories related to the engagement or participation of children below 18 years of age in public entertainment or information are hereby deemed revoked and shall no longer be in effect,” the DOLE said.

In the previous labor advisories, it said that a child actor’s performance shall be done in the former’s home.

Employers or production staff are only allowed to be present to provide assistance such as ensuring that minimum public health standards are implemented and observed on set, including wearing of well-fitted face masks and face shields, if necessary; physical distancing of at least one-meter; compliance on venue capacity and ensuring that the costumes, props, or materials needed are thoroughly disinfected.

The DOLE said the lifting of the COVID-19 restrictions is in accordance with the lifting of the State of Public Health Emergency due to COVID-19 throughout the country last July 21.

The labor department though still urged employers of child performers to continue observing measures that will help prevent virus transmission in their work areas.

“Employers who will engage children in public entertainment or information are enjoined to observe and follow the recommendations in the updated health protocols,” the DOLE said.

The labor department said that apart from the wearing of face mask, especially in crowded or poorly ventilated public spaces, they also encourage the practice of good hygiene, frequent hand washing and good ventilation, especially in situations where close interaction with the child cannot be avoided.

The advisory also noted that COVID vaccination shall not be required for the issuance of a working permit for children below 15 years of age, although it is still being recommended.

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