The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has expanded the compulsory insurance coverage for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), including rehires and direct hires.
In Department Order No. 228 dated Nov. 3 and released on Monday, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello said those covered by the insurance coverage are all agency-hired workers and migrant workers classified as rehires.
“Each migrant worker deployed by a recruitment/manning agency shall be covered by a compulsory insurance policy which shall be secured at no cost to the said worker,” it said.
“Such insurance policy shall be effective for the duration of the migrant worker’s employment, and this shall include, at the minimum, the social protection benefits enumerated under Section 23 of Republic Act 10022,” the order added.
The cost will be shouldered by the recruitment/manning agency for agency-hired workers while for rehires, direct hires, and name hires and for their families, the cost or expense shall be borne by their foreign employers or the workers themselves, subject to a complete refund upon arrival of the OFW concerned at the worksite or country destination.
“Licensed Philippine recruitment/manning agencies and their principals/employers shall comply with this directive, and shall also offer an enhanced insurance coverage, if available and approved by the Insurance Commission, subject to the concurrence of the OFWs, that will include acts or incidents considered as force majeure and all health issues, including all man-made hazards and perils, at the worksite, in addition to the minimum coverage already provided under the compulsory insurance for agency-hired workers,” it said.
At the same time, the DOLE said the rule will be implemented only during the period of the current public health emergency being faced by all countries due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the threats of other emerging infectious diseases as well as the period of full completion and implementation of the national government’s vaccination program for all Filipino citizens.
However, the department may extend it for a longer period as circumstances may warrant.
“This Order seeks to forthwith extend, expand and strengthen this indispensable mantle of protection to all OFWs during this current global health emergency crisis at no cost to the worker, and also to other migrant workers based abroad under a residency status granted by the host country if they may avail of such social insurance coverage and which is completely consistent with current legislative initiatives bearing and embracing the same purpose and objectives,” the DOLE added.
Bello reported that only 32 percent (agency-hired workers) of the estimated 10 million OFWs have adequate social protection.
He said close to 70 percent of the OFW population uncovered by the policy are highly vulnerable to various known risks and perils of host countries and work destinations. (PNA)