Press Release
July 22, 2020

Sotto files bill giving protection to employers from Covid-19-related claims

Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III has filed a bill giving private employers immunity from coronavirus pandemic-related lawsuits from their employees who contracted the dreaded virus in the workplace.

Sotto, however, emphasized that Senate Bill No. 1515, is not an absolute blanket shield from any liability of the employer as it will not cover acts that constitute the commission of a crime.

In filing SB 1515, which shall be known as "Employer's Liability Protection from Covid-19 Act", the Senate leader underscored the need to boost the reopening of the economy.

"Employers and private establishment owners are aware of the risks their returning employees will face in the workplace and their responsibilities to their workers as employers," Sotto said.

Sotto saw the need to protect private establishments and its owners from lawsuits and claims of their employees who may have contracted the Covid-19 virus in the workplace or in the performance of their work.

"Small and mid-size enterprises (SMEs) will greatly benefit in this law. This will prevent the further depletion of their already exhausted resources in defending themselves against labor lawsuits in relation to COVID-19 infection of their workers," he said.

The measure, Sotto said, is in line with the government's policy to encourage private enterprises and support businesses, especially during the coronavirus outbreak, and to reinvigorate employment and spending.

Under the bill, no private establishments authorized by the government to operate during Covid-19 outbreak shall be liable to any claims made by employees by reason of getting infected while working.

The liability protection shall extend not only to the registered owner or owners but even the officers of the private establishment.

Sotto stressed though that employers must observe the relevant laws and mandated community safety protocols issued by the government on the prevention, spread and management of the Covid-19 for the measure to be applicable to them.

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