ECC: Hospitalized or not, employees who acquire work-related Covid-19 are eligible for compensation

The Employees’ Compensation Commission (ECC) informed workers who've acquired work-related Covid-19 are eligible to claim benefits under the Employees’ Compensation Program.

The Employees’ Compensation Commission (ECC) clarified that workers who acquired work-related Covid-19, whether they have been hospitalised or not, will be able to claim benefits under the Employees’ Compensation Program. 

ECC Executive Director Stella Zipagan-Banawis commented on why these benefits were offered, saying, “This is to answer the questions of workers who suffered from Covid due to work, but they were not confined in hospitals.”  

These work-related Covid-19 claims have been granted by the ECC ever since 2020, following the “Increased risk” theory, wherein illnesses can be compensated if tangible and reliable evidence has been provided that proves that the illness afflicted the worker due to factors inherent in their nature of work or their working conditions. 

Covid is currently part of a list of occupational and work-related diseases approved by the ECC in Board Resolution No. 21-04-14, last updated on April 6, 2021. Director Banawis stated his stance on Covid-19 being compensable, saying: “As the number of workers who suffered from Covid-19 continues to rise, we want to remind everyone that Covid-19 could be compensable regardless of its severity and whether the worker was hospitalised, recovered in a quarantine facility, or underwent home isolation,”.  

The EC ensures that workers who have contracted Covid-19 due to work can claim EC’s benefits, including EC daily sickness, medical and disability benefits. Additionally, the qualified dependents of workers who died due to work-related Covid-19 can claim EC death with funeral benefits if evidence proving work-related affliction before death is given. 

Director Banawis then explained how the ECC could provide these benefits, saying that “We (ECC) also emphasise that ECP benefits are over and above the benefits provided by PhilHealth, the Social Security System (SSS) and Government Service Insurance System (GSIS). And employees need not exhaust their sick leave credits to avail EC benefits.” 

DOLE then clarifies that applications for EC claims are filed at the SSS for private-sector employees and GSIS for government sector employees.