CSC issues guidelines on government workers’ absences amidst pandemic

The Civil Service Commission (CSC) has issue new guidelines on absences from work by government officials and employees during obtaining Covid-19 pandemic.

The CSC the absences incurred may be considered as  “excused absences” or charged against the workers’ earned vacation or sick leave credits, The Commission’s  memorandum issued Monday contains the guidelines for  government offices on how to treat absences of workers during the period of community quarantine.

In the memorandum, CSC Chair Alicia dela-Rosa Bala said those who were stranded abroad or locally due to the suspension of all forms of transportation while on official travel or on approved personal travel under their vacation or sick leave shall be considered as excused absences.

Those on personal travel, however, should present proof of intention to report back to work such as plane, bus or boat tickets and cancellation of their travel due to lockdown or localized community quarantine declaration.

Excused absences cover only the period they are slated to report back to work and for the duration of the ECQ, MECQ, and GCQ.

CSC said those who are unable to report for work because of health risks but not qualified for work-from-home arrangement; unable to work due to imposition of lockdowns; unable to work due to the suspension of public transportation and shuttle service was not provided; and those whose tasks may not be performed through a work-from home scheme are considered excused absences.

In cases where leave credits have already been deducted, the CSC circular states the credits shall be restored.

Failure to report for work after the approved personal leave of absence of those who could not present any proof, after undergoing required quarantine, or of those  assigned as skeleton force despite support mechanism like transportation or housing quarters, shall be charged against earned vacation or sick leave credits.

“Failure to make themselves available during the work hours, without justifiable reason, while they are at home in cases where no assignment is given, e.g. non-response to calls or messages,” are likewise charged as vacation or sick leave, according to the memorandum.

The CSC stressed, however. that government officials and employees who have been absent without approved leave (AWOL) prior to March 16 when the lockdown was announced until the declaration of the community quarantine are still considered AWOL for the whole period they did not signify any intention to report back to work.

Likewise, those stranded abroad with approved leave but without travel authority shall be deemed absent. The absences shall be charged against earned leaves.

The guideline is retroactive to March 16, 2020 and shall remain in effect until the state of public health emergency has been lifted by the government.

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