Philippines Philippines issues Department Order mandating mental health management in workplace

On February 14, 2020, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) of the Philippines issued guidelines that mandate mental health management of workers in the workplace. The guidelines are pursuant to Republic Act No. 11036, the Mental Health Act, and Republic Act No. 11058, Act Strengthening Compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Standards and Providing Penalties for Violations Thereof both passed in 2018. The guidelines were signed on February 11, 2020, as DOLE Department Order No. 208 of 2020.

 

The outline of the guidelines is as follows.

  • This Department Order applies to all workplaces and establishments.
  • It is mandatory for all covered workplaces and establishments to develop a Mental Health Workplace Policy and Program which shall satisfy the following.
  • Raise awareness in the workplace for workers with or at risk of mental health conditions and prevent stigma and discrimination against them. Support them and facilitate their access to health care services.
  • Promote the well-being of workers towards a healthy and productive life.
  • Developed in cooperation between management and workers’ representatives and made part of the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) policy.
  • Prohibit discrimination on the basis of mental health conditions. Employers shall not deprive workers of employment, promotion, or any other benefits of employment because of their mental health conditions, provided that such conditions do not affect job performance or jeopardize the safety of the workers themselves, their co-workers, clients, or the general public.
  • These programs shall be implemented and monitored by the company’s OSH committee and reviewed and evaluated annually or as necessary.
  • The suitability for work of workers with mental health conditions shall be determined by an industrial physician with the consent of a psychiatric specialist after an appropriate medical examination.
  • Job assignments and job description for workers with mental health conditions shall be agreed upon by the employer and the worker, provided that the conditions of the worker do not affect job performance.
  • If a company violates this Department Order, the company shall be penalized in accordance with the provisions of RA 11058 and other existing laws.
  • Guidelines to support the mental health management of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) are also attached as Annex B to this Departmental Order.
  • The guidelines shall take effect 15 days after its publication in a newspaper of general circulation.

 

The original text of the Department Order is available at the following URL.
https://www.dole.gov.ph/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/DO-208-20-Guidelines-for-the-Implementation-of-Mental-Health-Workplace-Policies-and-Programs-for-the-Private-Sector.pdf