MANILA – Absences from work by government officials and employees incurred during the community quarantine due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) may be deemed as “excused absences” or charged against earned vacation or sick leave credits, the Civil Service Commission (CSC) said.
The CSC issued a memorandum on Monday to provide guidelines to government offices on how to treat absences of workers during the period of community quarantine.
CSC Chairperson Alicia dela-Rosa Bala stated in the guidelines that those who were stranded abroad or locally due to the suspension of all forms of transportation while on official travel or on approved personal travel under their vacation or sick leave shall be considered as excused absences.
However, those on personal travel should present a proof of intention to report back to work such as plane, bus or boat tickets and cancellation of their travel due to lockdown or localized declaration of enhanced, modified enhanced, and general community quarantines.
Excused absences cover only the period they are scheduled to report back to work and for the duration of the ECQ, MECQ, and GCQ.
Health risks, lockdown imposition
CSC said those who are unable to report for work because of health risks but not qualified for work-from-home arrangement; unable to work due to imposition of lockdowns; unable to work due to the suspension of public transportation and shuttle service was not provided; and those whose tasks may not be performed through a work-from home scheme are considered excused absences.
In cases that leave credits have already been deducted, the CSC circular states that these shall be restored.
Meanwhile, failure to report for work after the approved personal leave of absence of those who could not present any proof, failure to report for work after undergoing required quarantine, failure to physically report for work of those assigned as skeleton force despite support mechanism like transportation or housing quarters, shall be charged against earned vacation or sick leave credits.
“Failure to make themselves available during the work hours, without justifiable reason, while they are at home in cases where no assignment is given, e.g. non-response to calls or messages,” are likewise charged as vacation or sick leave, according to the memorandum.
Government officials and employees who have been absent without approved leave (AWOL) prior to March 16 when the lockdown was announced until the declaration of the community quarantine are still considered AWOL for the whole period that they did not signify any intention to report back to work.
Those stranded abroad with approved leave but without travel authority shall be deemed absent.
The absences shall be charged against earned leaves.
Bala said the guideline is retroactive to March 16, 2020 and until the state of public health emergency has been lifted by President Rodrigo Duterte. (PNA)