CSC includes online platforms in rules vs sexual harassment in gov’t service

Robie de Guzman   •   May 21, 2021   •   3341

MANILA, Philippines – The Civil Service Commission (CSC) has amended its rules against sexual harassment in government service to include acts committed through text messaging or email, online platforms and in public spaces.

In a statement, the CSC said it has promulgated Resolution No. 2100064, which states the amended provisions in the 2017 Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service (RACCS), specifically those pertaining to the administrative proceedings for sexual harassment complaints where the offender is a government employee.

“The changes in the 2017 RACCS were primarily made to further deter sexual harassment in the public sector as well as to harmonize said rules with Republic Act No. 11313 or the Safe Spaces Act and its Implementing Rules and Regulations,” the CSC said.

Under the CSC resolution, the definition of the term “sexual harassment” is expanded into the following categories:

  • Sexual harassment in the workplace
  • Sexual harassment in educational and training institution
  • Sexual harassment in streets and public spaces,
  • Online sexual harassment

The commission defines sexual harassment in the workplace as one that is “done verbally, physically, or through the use of technology such as text messaging or email… that has or could have a detrimental effect on the conditions of an individuals’ employment or education, job performance or opportunities”.

It could also be a “conduct of sexual nature affecting the dignity of a person, which is unwelcome, unreasonable and offensive to the recipient”, or one that is “unwelcome and pervasive and creates an intimidating, hostile or humiliating environment for the recipient.”

Consistent with the Safe Spaces Act, the CSC said the amended rules consider as sexual harassment in streets and public spaces those acts such as catcalling, wolf-whistling, and misogynistic, transphobic or sexist slurs committed in alleys, roads, and similar types of public spaces.

It likewise defines gender-based online sexual harassment as “acts that use information and communication technology in terrorizing and intimidating victims” and includes “physical, psychological, and emotional threats, unwanted sexual misogynistic, transphobic, homophobic and sexist remarks and comments online whether publicly or through direct and private messages, invasion of victim’s privacy through cyberstalking and incessant messaging, uploading and sharing without the consent of the victim, any form of media that contains photos, voice, or video with sexual content, any unauthorized recording and sharing of any of the victim’s photos, videos, or any information online, impersonating identities of victims online or posting lies about the victims to harm their reputation, or filing false abuse reports to online platforms to silence victims.”

The same resolution strengthens the role of the Committee on Decorum and Investigation (CODI) in a government agency and averts possible delays in their investigation of complaints of sexual harassment.

While previous policies already require the creation of a CODI in all government agencies, the amended rules mandate the head of agency, or the head of the education or training institution to ensure sufficient number of people to replace any member of the CODI in case of his/her absence or need to inhibit from the case.

The policy also requires that the CODI “be headed by a woman and not less than half of its members shall be women.”

“Either the complainant or the person being complained of may request any member of the CODI to inhibit from the proceedings based on conflict of interest, manifest partiality, and other reasonable grounds. A CODI member may also voluntarily inhibit on the same grounds,” the commission said.

CODI is mandated to ensure that the complainant “does not suffer from retaliation or any disadvantage in terms of benefits or security of tenure, as well as to guarantee the observance of due process, gender-sensitive handling of the cases, and confidentiality of the identity of the parties involved.”

The committee is given 10 days from the termination of the investigation to submit its findings with recommendations to the disciplining authority for decision.

The amended resolution also specifies the duties of the head of agency in preventing and deterring the occurrence of sexual harassment cases, among which are to ensure widest dissemination of the law and rules to all persons in the workplace, the conduct of orientations among employees and distribution of relevant information materials, and conduct of gender sensitivity trainings.

Heads of agencies who will be found remiss on their duties under the revised CSC resolution or not taking action on complaints may be charged with Neglect of Duty.

“Sexual harassment may be classified as light offense, less grave offense, or grave offense depending on the act committed, and may be meted a penalty ranging from a reprimand to outright dismissal from the service,” the CSC said.

The new resolution will take effect on June 1.

Absences due to COVID-19 vaccination may be excused, CSC says

Robie de Guzman   •   November 24, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Government workers who will be absent due to COVID-19 vaccination may be considered excused, the Civil Service Commission (CSC) said Wednesday.

In a statement, the CSC said this is pursuant to the interim guidelines it issued through CSC Memorandum Circular No. 16, s. 2021 or the “Interim Guidelines on Absences of Government Officials and Employees Due to COVID-19 Vaccination and/or Adverse Events Following Immunization (AEFI) of COVID-19 Vaccine.”

“The issuance provides for the treatment of absences incurred by government officials and employees during the day of the inoculation of COVID-19 vaccine and/or the required treatment or recuperation period from any AEFI of COVID-19 vaccine,” the agency said.

“The guidelines define AEFI as ‘any untoward medical occurrence which follows immunization and which does not necessarily have a causal relationship with the usage of vaccine,’” it added.

The CSC said the guidelines remind all government workers of their responsibility to adopt necessary measures to prevent COVID-19 transmission in the public sector workplaces.

“COVID-19 vaccination is considered as one of the major strategies to complement the existing measures and practices to mitigate the spread and reduce morbidity and mortality due to COVID-19,” the guidelines stated.

In relation to leave credits, the CSC said that absences due to AEFI of COVID-19 vaccine may be charged against the employee’s sick leave credits when the period of treatment/recuperation exceeds the maximum allowable period of absences for the abovementioned conditions..

If the employee has exhausted his/her sick leave credits, Section 56 of the Omnibus Rules on Leave allows for the use of vacation leave credits in lieu of sick leave credits.

“In case the vacation leave credits have been exhausted, the employee may apply for sick leave of absence without pay,” the agency said.

“Government workers who have incurred absences due to COVID-19 vaccination and/or have undergone treatment from AEFI prior to the issuance of CSC MC No. 16, s. 2021 may request for the restoration of the deducted leave credits through their agency’s Human Resource unit.” It added.

The guidelines provides the following conditions where excused absence may be considered:

  • Absence from work during the day of inoculation of the first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccine, including future booster shots. Required documents include proof of vaccination schedule (e.g. vaccination card) and the application of leave of absence; and
  • Absence from work due to the required treatment/recuperation period from AEFI of the first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccine, including future booster shots.

The CSC said a maximum of 15 calendar days may be allowed for cases of serious AEFIs which may include hospitalization, persistent or significant disability or incapacity, and life threatening or medically important event or reaction.

“In addition to the application of leave of absence and copy of vaccination card, the employee must also submit a medical certificate and/or clinical abstract indicating the diagnosis, management done, and number of days of recuperation needed, signed by the attending physician,” it said.

On the other hand, a maximum of three calendar days may be allowed for non-serious AEFIs which may include tenderness, pain, warmth, redness, itching or swelling on the arm where one got the injection; generally feeling unwell; feeling tired (fatigue); chills or feeling feverish; headache; and joint pain or muscle ache.

“The employee must submit a medical certificate signed by an attending physician at the vaccination center or medical facility where s/he underwent observation due to AEFI,” the CSC said.

The agency said these guidelines shall apply to all government officials and employees regardless of status of appointment (permanent, temporary, provisional, substitute, coterminous, casual, contractual or fixed term) including local elective officials.

It shall take effect retroactively on March 1, 2021, the official rollout of the vaccination drive in the Philippines.

It shall remain in full effect during the period of state of calamity as declared under Proclamation No. 1218 issued by the President of the Philippines, or one year after the government has declared the completion of the COVID-19 Vaccination Program, the CSC said.

Work from home setup for CSC employees in NCR extended until Oct. 15

Robie de Guzman   •   October 7, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Civil Service Commission (CSC) has announced the extension of the work from home (WFH) arrangement for its employees in the National Capital Region (NCR) in line with the pilot implementation of the Alert Levels System for COVID-19 response.

The CSC said the work from home setup, which covers employees at its central office, CSC NCR Office, and CSC Regional Office IV headquarters, will be extended until Oct. 15.

“The WFH arrangement shall also continue to subsist in other CSC offices under ECQ or MECQ for the duration of their quarantine classification,” the agency said in an advisory.

It advised its clients requesting for the services of the CSC Integrated Records Management Office (IRMO) and Office for Legal Affairs (OLA) to continue transacting business online through the Online Registration, Appointment and Scheduling System (ORAS) at https://services.csc.gov.ph.

“Clients who are scheduled to be at the CSC Central Office to pick-up their requested documents on the said period are instructed to wait for further advisory on the rescheduling of the pick-up of requested documents,” it said.

“Further, documents or printed communications, including mail deliveries from couriers and postal services, shall still be received through a dropbox placed at the CSC Main Entrance,” it added.

The CSC said that a security guard on duty shall facilitate the recording of all documents submitted through the dropbox and ensure the safety of said documents.

Metro Manila is under Alert Level 4 until Oct. 15.

Civil Service Commission opens online job fair as part of 121st anniversary

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Civil Service Commission (CSC) has opened an online job fair as part of its 121st anniversary celebration.

The CSC in partnership with Jobstreet.PH opened a week-long online job fair on Monday (September 20) where 2,000 vacancies will be available for interested applicants.

Job vacancies available include:

  • Customer Associate
  • Revenue Officers
  • Medical Officers
  • Administrative Officer
  • Medical Officers
  • Jail Officers
  • Administrative Assistant
  • Attorney
  • Guidance Councilor
  • Medical Specialist
  • Account Assistant
  • IT Specialist

Interested applicants can go to the CSC website at www.csc.gov.ph and answer the online personal data sheet. Applicants are also required to have a Jobstreet account. The online job fair will run until September 24.

Meanwhile, CSC Commissioner Aileen Lizada encouraged government agencies to open vacancies in their respective departments. She also urged government agencies not to reserve openings within their department.

“As far as I know there 100,000 plus unfilled positions in the government, CSC cannot open those vacant positions, it is the head of the agency, that is why I am encouraging the head of agencies, please fill up open and publish,” she said. AAC (with reports from JP Nuñez)

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