Efforts of the administration to streamline the work flow in government agencies has been a key factor in speeding up the processing of employees’ compensation claims for workers suffering from work-related injuries and illness.
This was revealed by Employees’ Compensation Commission (ECC) Executive Director Stella Banawis during the program, “#WorkRelated ECC Protektado,” which she co-hosts with veteran broadcast journalist Mae Binauhan every Wednesdays, 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. on DZRH.
In line with the Ease of Doing Business Act of 2018, two government agencies are now able to process work-related injury and illness benefit claims within four to 17 working days, Banawis said.
These two agencies are the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) and the Social Security System (SSS), which are tasked to evaluate work-related injury and illness claims of employees in government and the private sector, respectively.
Employees eligible for work-related compensation claims
“Anytime there is an employee-employer relationship, the worker from the private or government sector is eligible for employees’ compensation coverage,” Banawis explained.
Also covered are uniformed personnel belonging to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP), Coast Guard, Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), and Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP).
Beginning their first day of work, all employees are automatically eligible for employees’ compensation coverage, which takes effect as soon as they become members of the SSS or GSIS.
Unlike regular employees, those who are self-employed will need to enroll separately for employees’ compensation coverage at their nearest SSS branch office.
“In the case of people who are self-employed, they are both the employer and the employee and so they need to go to an SSS office to enroll for employees’ compensation coverage,” Banawis said.
Documents needed for filing claims
Those filing for employees’ compensation benefits must present to the SSS or GSIS a certificate of employment as well as a detailed job description , which is used to determine whether the injury or illness was indeed related to the claimant’s scope of work.
Those claiming for work-related illness or disease must present relevant medical records and those claiming for work-related injuries must show an injury accident report, if the accident occurred within office premises, or a police report if the accident happened while going to or coming home from the workplace.
Banawis advised claimants to file these documents within three years of the occurrence of the accident or diagnosis of the illness.
“The current prescription period is three years, but we are working on ways to make this filing window even longer,” Banawis said.
ECC assists persons with work-related disabilities
Along with financial assistance for medical treatment and physical rehabilitation, the ECC also has a Katulong at Gabay sa Mangagawang May Kapansanan (Kagabay) program for persons with work-related disabilities (PWRDs).
Under this program, those who suffered debilitating work-related injuries are eligible for Php20,000 in business start-up funding, livelihood and skills training, and a Php500 transportation and meal allowance during their training period.
“After a year of monitoring a Kagabay start-up business, we can release another Php10,000 in financial aid if that is what it takes to sustain the viability of the new livelihood venture,” Banawis said.
Edel Fortu, 34, who was formerly a driver and all-around laborer, became one of the beneficiaries of the Kagabay program, after he lost a limb while chopping down a palm tree that was obstructing a driveway.
Because of the business start-up funding that he received, Fortu now owns and runs a flourishing piggery.
Another Kagabay beneficiary is Jebson de Gloria, a driver and delivery man, who lost a limb after a truck accident.
Gloria received Php16,500 in disability benefits, a monthly pension for 48 months, and livelihood training. Today, he sells fried chicken out of a food cart in front of a public market.
“I can now take care of my family’s needs because of our business,” Gloria said in Filipino. “The ECC helped me get back up on my feet during the hardest point in my life when I had almost given up hope.”
ECC information campaign leads to more claims
According to Banawis, “Our statistics show that there has been an increase in emploees’ compensation claims every year because more people are becoming aware that they are eligible for work-related injury and illness benefits.”
As part of its information drive, the ECC signed with the PNP, BFP, and BJMP memorandums of agreement that detail how the administration of these government agencies can assist in better informing uniformed personnel about their employees’ compensation coverage.
Banawis explained that many people are unaware of the ECC because only employers pay for the coverage premiums, and as such, employees do not see any deductions on their pay slips.
Currently, companies pay Php10 or Php30 per month in premiums for each employee in the private sector while the government pays Php100 in premiums per month for each employee in the public sector.
“The ECC is studying how we can eventually have the same premium contribution amount for both the public and private sectors,” Banawis said.
About the ECC
The ECC, a government owned and controlled corporation attached to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), was formed in 1975 and is mandated to provide financial assistance, livelihood training, and business start-up funds to workers who are injured and suffered disabilities from work-related accidents.
It has thus far processed about 6 million claims and released about Php35 billion in financial aid over the past 45 years.
The ECC can be reached through (02) 88967837, its website: ecc.gov.ph, or its office at 355 Sen. Gil Puyat Ave., Makati City.
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