By Betheena Unite
Workers and journalists working within the Taal Volcano danger zone must receive a minimum of 25 percent hazard pay on top of their basic salary, a workers group said Saturday.
The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) is calling for a minimum of 25 percent hazard pay for an estimated 2,000 employees working in restaurants and hotel establishments in Tagaytay City that are located within the 14-kilometer Taal volcano danger zone, as well as for around 1,000 journalists comprising reporters, cameramen, assistant cameramen, photographers, researchers, and drivers.
“All employees including rank-and-file, supervisors, and managers working in all business establishments such as hotels, restaurants, casinos, and spas, among others, which are located within the 14-kilometer danger zone particularly Tagaytay City have the right and are entitled to a minimum 25 percent hazard pay of the their daily basic pay,” TUCP President and TUCP party-list Rep. Raymond Mendoza said.
“Reporters, cameramen, assistant cameramen, cab drivers, and photographers who are covering the Taal volcano eruption and are working in the declared danger zone also have the same right and are similarly entitled to hazard pay whether they are under talent contract, or permanent, regular, contractual, seasonal, directly or agency-hired, freelance or independently contracted,” he added.
The lawmaker argued that working under the dangerous situations and the exposure to risks brought by the Taal Volcano phreatic eruption “are sufficient conditions for these workers to be provided with hazardous duty pay.”
TUCP Spokesperson Alan Tanjusay, however, said although there is no prevailing law, policy, or department order in the country that regulates employers giving their employees hazard pay, “it is imperative upon business owners and employers’ management prerogative to give hazard pay to their employees considering the extraordinary circumstance in performing their duties and responsibilities.”
“On other hand, employees can directly approach and request their employers to provide them with hazard pay,” he added.
In the public sector, police, military, firemen, rescuers, including volcanologists and personnel from the Philippine Institute for Volcanology and Seismology, are automatically entitled to hazard pay in view of Civil Service Commission regulations and subsequent agency memoranda giving government personnel hazard pay ranging from 5 percent to 27 percent of their basic pay after rendering 50 percent of the total working hours of the month.