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New rule on distancing in workplaces to begin today

THE CITY government has further issued guidelines aimed at enforcing physical distancing in establishments as the clustering of coronavirus cases has been traced in places of work before spreading to households.

Private offices are strongly encouraged to adopt working arrangements notwithstanding the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) orders on operational capacity.

In the latest executive order signed by Vice Mayor Sebastian Duterte, who is currently the acting mayor, government offices and establishments are ordered to adopt other alternative work arrangements starting Oct. 26 until Dec. 31.

HE emphasized the need to reduce the number of individuals inside offices and establishments to ensure that overcrowding, mass gathering, and socialization are prohibited.

“There is a need to avoid a close contact scenario for all employees to avert a recurrent mandatory 14-day quarantine for employees whenever a co-employee is found to be confirmed positive,” he said.

This is also to avoid the lockdown of offices to ensure the continued operations of government and businesses.

Recent contact tracing activities conducted by the City Health Office (CHO) has found out that several offices and establishments have seen a clustering of cases and spreading the infection to the household of the workers.

For government offices, the alternative work arrangement that can be implemented as per Civil Service Memorandum Circular 10, s. 2020 is the skeleton workforce, work-from-home, and staggered working hours.

Sec. 4 of the EO states that all government agencies and instrumentalities, both national and local, will adopt an OAWA that will fully operationalize their offices with a skeleton workforce inside the offices while others are working from home and the working hours are staggered throughout the day from 7 in the morning to 7 in the evening. This arrangement applies to all employees, including consultants, job orders, and contracts of service workers.

The EO also allows an employee who has a specific task to come in only when they are expected to work and can go home immediately after completing their task.

“The hours at home will be counted as worked hours provided that they are able to deliver their tasks correct and complete.”

No person should be allowed to loiter in offices.

However, the OAWA will not be accepted as an excuse for the delay in government service, and that all offices should be able to deliver timely and efficient public service while in the said arrangement, as per Sec. 8 of the order.

Employees are also to be strictly monitored by heads of offices and make sure that they comply with the 40-hour workweek.

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