Overseas Filipino workers are assured of greater protection amid the global health crisis with the expanded compulsory insurance coverage for rehires or ‘Balik-Manggagawa’ and direct hires.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, who chairs the governing board of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), said on Sunday the guidelines have been issued implementing DOLE Department Order No. 228, Series of 2021, or the Expanded Compulsory Insurance Coverage for Rehires and Direct Hires.

“The pandemic has left our migrant workers vulnerable to various risks and perils. By expanding the compulsory insurance coverage, we aim to extend the protection to all OFWs, at no cost to our workers,” Bello said.

The mandatory insurance coverage of OFWs provided for under existing laws and POEA rules and regulations shall now include rehires or ‘Balik-Manggagawa’ and direct hires. The guidelines are spelled out in POEA Memorandum Circular No. 10 signed by POEA Administrator Bernard Olalia, and released last week.

The insurance policy shall be effective for the duration of the migrant worker’s employment contract and assures coverage in case of death, disability, repatriation, medical emergency, and litigation.

It provides for at least US $15,000 survivor’s benefit in case of accidental death; at least US $10,000 survivor’s benefit in case of natural death; and at least US $7,500 disability benefit.

The insurance policy also covers repatriation, including transport of the worker’s personal belongings, when his/her employment is terminated by the employer without any valid cause or terminated by the employee with just cause.

In case of death, the insurance provider shall arrange and pay for the repatriation or return of the worker’s remains.

It also provides for subsistence allowance benefit of at least US $100 per month for a maximum of six months for a migrant worker who is involved in a case or litigation, and money claims arising from the employer’s liability which may be awarded or given to the worker in a judgment or settlement of his/her case in the National Labor Relations Commission.

The insurance policy also covers medical evacuation, medical repatriation, and compassionate visit by one family member of a migrant worker who is hospitalized and confined for at least seven consecutive days.

The insurance coverage shall be secured by the recruitment/manning agency at no cost to the OFW, while the expense for the insurance coverage of rehires and direct hires shall be borne by the foreign employers or the workers themselves subject to a full refund upon the first day of the latter’s arrival at the worksite or country of destination.

Only reputable private insurance companies duly registered and currently accredited with the Insurance Commission are qualified to provide the insurance coverage.

The guidelines on the expanded compulsory insurance coverage shall be observed during the period of the public health emergency due to COVID-19 and shall remain in force until the full completion of the national government’s vaccination program.

An extension of the implementation of the memorandum circular may be granted at any time by the Labor Secretary as conditions and circumstances may warrant. END/aldm

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OFW mas protektado sa pinalawig na insurance – Bello

Makatitiyak ng higit na proteksiyon ang mga overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) sa gitna ng pandaigdigang krisis sa kalusugan, sa pinalawak na compulsory insurance coverage para sa mga rehire o ‘Balik-Manggagawa’ at mga direct hire.

Sinabi ni Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, na nakaupo rin bilang governing board ng Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), na inilabas na ang mga patakaran para sa pagpapatupad ng Department Order No. 228, Series of 2021, o ang Expanded Compulsory Insurance Coverage for Rehires and Direct Hires.

“Naharap ang ating mga migranteng manggagawa sa iba’t ibang panganib dulot ng pandemya. Sa pagpapalawak ng compulsory insurance coverage, nilalayon naming palawigin ang proteksiyon sa lahat ng ating OFW, nang walang gastos sa kanila,” pahayag ni Bello.

Sa sapilitang insurance coverage para sa OFW na itinakda sa ilalim ng umiiral na batas, alituntunin, at regulasyon ng POEA, dapat nang isama ang mga manggagawang na-rehire o ‘Balik-Manggagawa’ at direct hire. Nakasaad ang mga alituntunin sa POEA Memorandum Circular No. 10 na nilagdaan ni POEA Administrator Bernard Olalia, at inilabas nitong nakaraang linggo.

Dapat maging epektibo ang insurance policy batay sa panahon ng employment contract ng migranteng manggagawa at dapat tiyakin na sakop din ang pagkasawi, disability, repatriation, medical emergency at litigasyon.

Makakatanggap ang benepisaryo ng hindi bababa sa US $15,000 sa kaso ng aksidenteng pagkamatay; hindi bababa sa US $10,000 sa kaso ng natural na pagkasawi; at hindi bababa sa US $7,500 disability benefit.

Saklaw din ng insurance policy ang repatriation, kabilang ang transportasyon ng mga personal na gamit ng manggagawa, kapag siya ay tinanggal sa trabaho ng kanyang employer nang walang wasto at sapat na dahilan o tinerminate ng manggagawa ang konrata nito nang may makatarungang dahilan.

Kung sakaling masawi, dapat ayusin ng insurance provider ang pagpapauwi o pagbabalik ng mga labi ng manggagawa.

Makakatanggap din ng subsistence allowance benefit na hindi bababa ng US$100 kada buwan at hindi lalampas ng anim na buwan ang migranteng manggagawa na sangkot sa kaso o paglilitis, at money claim mula sa kanilang employer na maaaring igawad o ibigay sa manggagawa sa isang paghatol o settlement ng  kanyang kaso sa National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC).

Saklaw din ng insurance policy ang medical evacuation, medical repatriation, at compassionate visit ng isang miyembro ng pamilya ng migranteng manggagawa na naospital nang hindi bababa sa pitong magkakasunod na araw.

Ang recruitment/manning agency ang dapat mag-asikaso ng insurance coverage nang walang gastos sa OFW, habang ang gastos para sa insurance coverage ng rehire at direct hire ay sasagutin ng dayuhang employer o ng mismong manggagawa na dapat i-refund sa unang araw ng pagdating nila sa lugar ng kanilang pagtatrabahuhan o sa bansang kanilang pupuntahan.

Tanging ang mga pribadong insurance company na kasalukuyang naka-rehistro at may akreditasyon sa Insurance Commission ang kwalipikadong magbigay ng insurance coverage.

Ang mga patakaran sa pinalawak na compulsory insurance coverage ay dapat sundin sa panahon ng public health emergency dulot ng Covid-19 at mananatiling epektibo hanggang sa ganap ng makumpleto ng pamahalaan ang programang pagbabakuna.

Maaaring ipagkaloob ng kalihim ng Department of Labor and Employment anumang oras ang pagpapalawig sa implementasyon ng memorandum circular ayon sa kondisyon at mga pangyayari, kung kinakailangan. END/aldm/ gmea