CSC: No Covid-related office closure, keep services running

By Rey Anthony Chiu | 10:33 PM September 24, 2021

Offices of government agencies and instrumentalities, including its own controlled corporations cannot just suspend their office operations leaving their services interrupted.  

This is despite reasons like half of its employees tested positive for coronavirus disease (Covid-19) or that the office needs to be disinfected. 

Civil Service Commission (CSC) Bohol Field chief and Provincial Director Alice May S. Parcon bared this during the recent Kapihan sa PIA.  

Citing Presidential Memorandum Circular No. 85 series of 2021, Director Parcon recalled the policy that says in the event that a government instrumentality is considering a temporary closure of office and its premises due to overwhelming cases of Covid, the head of agency shall request the office of the President for the clearance to shut down the premises. 

The request clearance which must be sent to the Office of the President should also contain the duration of the closure, all of these supported by verifiable data. 

No closure of would be implemented until the office head obtains a clearance from the Office of the President, Director Parcon added. 

But owing to the urgency of implementing measures to curb the spread of the disease in the workplace, what then are agency heads supposed to do?

Take note of the CSC Memorandum Circular No. 10, series of 2020, Director Parcon hinted. 

The MC is the revised Interim Guidelines for Alternative Work Arrangements (AWA) and Support Mechanisms for workers in the government during the period of state of national emergency due to COVID-19 pandemic. 

Government agencies may adopt any or a combination of the following AWA: Work-from-Home, Skeleton (Skeletal) Workforce, Four-day (Compressed) Workweek, Staggered Working Hours and Other AWA like a combination of the above. 

She however stressed that working from home as an output-oriented work arrangement that allows 

the worker to produce outputs results and accomplishments outside of the office. 

“We also need to understand that not all workers can be authorized to work at home,” she reminded, while citing those in factory production work. 

As to Skeletal Workforce, she said offices can run on a minimum number of employees to man and to render service when full staffing is impossible. 

This can work in areas where the office is operating in a declared area where work can operate with 50 to 30% capacity. 

To further limit the number of workers who should be physically present, the four-day or Compressed Workweek can also be adopted provide that the employee can render a total of 40 hours in a week, and so the workweek can be compressed to 4 days each week.

On the other hand, staggered working hours refer to a work arrangement applicable to offices and agencies that observe work shifting or flexible working time, like day shifting duty hours and those adopting flexible working schedules.

Finally, other AWA refers to a combination of the above enumerated appropriate work arrangements especially in areas with specific community quarantine statuses and the nature of work done by workers. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol) 

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