The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is urging employers to consider adopting flexible work arrangements to cope with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Labor Advisory No. 09 Series of 2020, or the Guidelines on the Implementation of Flexible Work Arrangements As Remedial Measure Due to the Ongoing Outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019, states that "flexible work arrangements is considered as better alternatives than outright termination of the services of the employees, or the total closure of the establishments."
Philippine businesses are already starting to feel the effects of COVID-19 on the economy. In February, Philippine Airlines terminated 300 employees due to losses that resulted from flight suspensions and multiple travel bans.
According to a statement from the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, PAL's move "is just the beginning of the bigger adverse economic effect of the escalating outbreak of COVID-19 phenomenon." They foresee the effects expanding to hotels, restaurants, and other industries involved in PAL's supply chain.
Elsewhere, theme parks and schools have been forced to close their operations temporarily in an attempt to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus.
In a news release on its website, DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III said that flexitime is just one of several measures that they are preparing to help cushion the negative impact of the epidemic to the labor sector.
Other assistance packages, like the Adjustment Measures Program (AMP) and Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers Program (TUPAD) are being repositioned in anticipation of such eventualities.