Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto on Monday called on the government to give hazard pay to private janitors, security guards, and maintenance personnel in public hospitals as they also face health risks when reporting to their work every day amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement, Recto said these essential but “unheralded” workers should get extra pay from the national government for keeping hospitals clean.
The senator also said contracted janitors and sanitation workers are “virus killers” who keep hospitals clean, “one scrub, one mop, one wipe at a time.”
“They stand shoulder to shoulder with medical staff in public hospitals, but because of their status as private service providers, janitors and security guards are not entitled to hazard and hardship pay despite facing the same health risks,” he said.
“Sanitation workers, housekeepers, janitors, security guards, equipment and building maintenance staff who work for private companies under contract with public hospitals are frontliners, too. Without them, a hospital will collapse,” he added.
Despite their vital role, Recto said most of these workers “quietly toil on minimum pay.”
The lawmaker urged the Department of Health, Department of Budget and Management and both houses of Congress to come up with a package on how to augment the salary of these employees “for the high-risk work they do.”
But in order to expedite this, Recto said the President should issue an order granting benefits to these workers.