Safe return to work for Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs)

ILO, WHO and the Government of the Philippines Joint Meeting on Safe Return to Work for MSMEs

Following the recent discussion with the WHO Country Office in the Philippines, the International Labour Organization (ILO) explored an opportunity for a joint meeting with DOLE, DOH, DTI and MOLE to further discuss and identify strategies on how to align ILO and WHO support to the safe return to work/safe workplace, particularly of Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) to the key public health interventions of DOH and WHO.

Both WHO and ILO have published respective guidelines on safe return to work under the Covid-19 pandemic response, and we are aware that DOH, DOLE-DTI, MOLE and other concerned government agencies have developed return to work guidelines and many related guidance documents. To address the continuing challenges of containing the pandemic while keeping the economy and people’s livelihood alive, there are several issues ILO and WHO found important to be discussed in a joint UN and Government meeting amongst DOH, DOLE, DTI and MOLE, knowing the critical interface between the public health and the world of work.

Safe workplace can be the win-win solution in protecting employment while containing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and addressing challenges for MSMEs and the informal sector. Mr  Hideki Kagohashi, Enterprise Development Specialist of ILO Country Office in the Philippines made a presentation focused on seven key areas for possible collaboration between the public health sector and the labour and employment sector based on the initial meeting between the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) in the Philippines held on held on 12 May 2020 regarding safe work and contact tracing:

1. Collaboration in promoting the guidelines on return to work from WHO and ILO.
2. Link the digital solutions on contact tracing to the workplace safety support.
3. Engage employers and workers in the contact tracing.
4. Support minimizing the stigma of testing so that businesses and workers would not hide the case or delay the reporting.
5. Making the safe workplace practices work in the MSME environment.
6. Communicating effectively the workplace prevention & control measures to the MSMEs including those in the informal sector.
7. Safe work environment at home for those in telework.

The above points highlight the importance of the meeting which aimed to establish collaboration on this important undertaking in support of safe and viable recovery of MSMEs.

For more information, please find here the Minutes of the Meeting which highlights the importance of the recommendations and agreements that transpired in the meeting discussions which aims to establish collaboration on this important undertaking in support of safe and viable recovery of MSMEs.