MANILA, Mar 14 (Mabuhay) — Overseas Filipino workers are assured of more protection amid the global health crisis with the expanded compulsory insurance coverage that will include rehires and direct hires.

Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III, who chairs the governing board of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, said in a news release on Sunday that the guidelines have been issued to implement Department Order No. 228, series of 2021, or the Expanded Compulsory Insurance Coverage for Rehires and Direct Hires.

The insurance policy shall be effective for the duration of the employment contract and assures coverage in case of death, disability, repatriation, medical emergency, and litigation.

It provides for at least USD15,000 survivor’s benefit in case of accidental death; at least USD10,000 survivor’s benefit in case of natural death; and at least USD7,500 disability benefit.

Also included are repatriation, including transport of personal belongings, and termination with or without valid cause.

In case of death, the insurance provider shall arrange and pay for the repatriation of remains of the overseas Filipino worker (OFW).

It likewise provides for subsistence allowance benefit of at least USD100 per month for a maximum of six months for a migrant worker who is involved in a case or litigation and money claims arising from the employer’s liability which may be awarded or given to the worker in a judgment or settlement of the case by the National Labor Relations Commission.

The insurance policy will similarly cover medical evacuation, medical repatriation, and compassionate visit by a family member of the migrant worker who is hospitalized and confined for at least seven consecutive days.

The insurance coverage shall be secured by the recruitment/manning agency at no cost to the OFW while the expense for the insurance coverage of rehires and direct hires shall be borne by the foreign employers or the workers themselves subject to a full refund upon arrival at the worksite or country of destination.

Only reputable private insurance companies duly registered and currently accredited by the Insurance Commission are qualified to provide the insurance coverage.

The guidelines on the expanded compulsory insurance coverage shall be observed during the period of the public health emergency due to Covid-19 and shall remain in force until the full completion of the national government’s vaccination program.

An extension of the implementation of the memorandum circular may be granted by DOLE at any time as conditions and circumstances may warrant.

“The pandemic has left our migrant workers vulnerable to various risks and perils. By expanding the compulsory insurance coverage, we aim to extend the protection to all OFWs, at no cost to our workers,” Bello said. (MNS)

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