This is the 5th instalment of the blog series and on this issue, we’ll focus on Art. 284 or termination due to health reasons.
Losing one’s job for health reasons falls under authorized causes as stated on the Philippine Labor Code:
Art. 284. Disease as ground for termination. An employer may terminate the services of an employee who has been found to be suffering from any disease and whose continued employment is prohibited by law or is prejudicial to his health as well as to the health of his co-employees: Provided, That he is paid separation pay equivalent to at least one (1) month salary or to one-half (1/2) month salary for every year of service, whichever is greater, a fraction of at least six (6) months being considered as one (1) whole year.
Rules and Regulations Implementing the Labor Code:
SECTION 8. Disease as a ground for dismissal. — Where the employee suffers from a disease and his continued employment is prohibited by law or prejudicial to his health or to the health of his co-employees, the employer shall not terminate his employment unless there is certification by competent public health authority that the disease is of such nature of at such a stage that it cannot be cured within a period of six (6) months even with proper medical treatment. If the disease or ailment can be cured within the period, the employee shall not terminate the employee but shall ask the employee to take a leave of absence. The employer shall reinstate such employee to his former position immediately upon the restoration of his normal health
A reader of this blog, left a comment on my last post of this series, and asked if I can enumerate the diseases that can be used as ground for termination. On my research, however, it was not spelled out. Each cases, are treated based on clinical correlation, i.e. one case of cancer may be a ground for dismissal while another is not. The law, instead, provided these parameters:
- The job will only aggravate the health condition of the concerned employee.
- His sickness is contagious and may put the health of other workers at risk.
- The sickness will not be cured in six months time.
- It must be certified by a public health authority (aside from the company doctor).
If employee case does not fall on the above, employer must allow the employee to take a leave for not more than six months and take him back as soon as s/he recovers.
From my experience and observation as HR Manager, some employers take a more generous and benevolent stance– extending financial assistance on top of the company benefits rather than terminating employee for health reasons.
However, this should not be misconstrued as default practice because employers are not prohibited from exercising Art. 284 prerogative, or terminating employee for health reasons, if it satisfies the requirements of the law. Likewise, employer should extend the prescribed minimum separation pay of at least equivalent to one month salary, or 1/2 month salary for every year of service on which 6 months and more shall be counted as one full year, or as prescribed on the CBA.
Aside: Readers outside the Philippines are advised to read their local labor code and related laws.