A bill that seeks to give workers in public hospitals hazard pay during the coronavirus pandemic has been filed at the Senate.

Senate Bill 1908 by Senator Ralph G. Recto will cover sanitation workers, housekeepers, food service workers, janitors, security guards and equipment and building maintenance staff, among others.

“They are low-paid workers but are still classified as employed, thus disqualifying them from receiving emergency government aid for the jobless,” Senator Ralph G. Recto said in the bill’s explanatory note.

“They are not allied medical and health workers and some are private employees under contract of service, they are not entitled to hazard pay as contemplated in the Bayanihan II law,” he added.

The law provided for a COVID-19 special risk allowance for all health workers in private and public hospitals, on top of a hazard pay.

The country was placed under a state of calamity for six months starting March 16, amid the pandemic. This was later extended for a year until Sept. 12, 2021.

Under Mr. Recto’s bill, the hazard pay may cost up to 25% of the daily salary, subject to available funds. It will be based on the number of days the support worker serves in the COVID-19 section of the hospital.

The fund will be taken from the 2020 savings in the national budget or any contingency funds for the first year of the measure’s implementation and later from the annual spending plan.

If enacted, the bill will be applied retroactively to cover services rendered since March 17, 2020. — Charmaine A. Tadalan