DoLE suspends work in main office, NCR

LABOR Secretary Silvestre Bello 3rd has ordered the suspension of work in its main office and at the National Capital Region (NCR) due to the widespread Covid-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) infections among its officials and staff.

Work will remain suspended from Friday, January 14, until Monday, January 17.

Bello directed all heads of offices, services and bureaus, including the NCR regional office, of the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) to resume work on January 18.

From a handful of cases at the start of the year, Bello reported that infected officials and staff of the department numbered 128 as of Thursday night or about 21 percent of DoLE’s central office personnel of around 600.

Earlier in the week, Bello directed all DoLE offices and attached agencies in areas with a surging number of Covid cases across the country to implement alternative work arrangements, including work from home, for their personnel.

“[Skeleton] workforce shall be limited to those performing or providing essential services,” Bello said in an administrative order issued on Tuesday. The work arrangements took effect on Wednesday until January 30.

Not included in the flexible work arrangements are personnel in the offices of the secretary, undersecretaries and assistant secretaries, and office of the directors.

In issuing the directive, Bello enjoined all officials and employees to continue observing public health standards and other safety protocols in the workplace.