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San Miguel Corporation (SMC) has placed its return-to-office plan on hold for NCR employees to prevent workplace transmission following the surge of COVID-19 cases, and allow those affected to isolate and recover properly.

“We are carefully monitoring our COVID-19 cases across the group and adjusting our policies. For now, we encourage our employees to work from home unless otherwise required by our operations,” SMC President and CEO Ramon S. Ang said. 

He added that SMC is also upping its booster rollout for employees and families. “We believe that the vaccines continue to protect us against severe disease and death even from the variant, so we are stepping up our campaign to administer booster shots to our employees and their families.” 

Through its nationwide Ligtas Lahat employee vaccination program, SMC had been able to fully vaccinate over 97% of its 70,000 nationwide workforce. It has also fully vaccinated over 95% of its workforce throughout the National Capital Region, or over 19,800 employees.

It has also begun to rollout the administration of booster shots for employees nationwide, with initial efforts in Metro Manila and Cebu underway, and with scheduled dates for Batangas, Laguna , Pangasinan, Iloilo, Bacolod, Isabela, and Davao set throughout this week and the next.

“After fully vaccinating almost all employees and extended workforce in our network nationwide, we were able to begin administering booster shots starting end of December. We’re currently rolling out vaccinations in  major locations, with many provinces nationwide already being lined up,” Ang said.

Currently, Ang said manning complement at its offices is limited to 20%, prioritizing essential workers involved in critical business activities.

This is also to avoid burdening the hospitals and the health care system, Ang said.

“With the surge upon us, many of us are affected. The most important thing we as a company can do is to help prevent its further spread, so as not to overwhelm our medical sector, and to allow for proper isolation for those who have tested positive,” Ang said. 

“Our employees need to isolate properly, or may need to take care of family who are in isolation. Working from home will both prevent a spread and strengthen the family support system during this time,” he added.

Ang meanwhile ensured consumers and customers that the company’s businesses will continue to provide essential products and services throughout this time.

Its food, beverage, packaging, fuel operations, power generation, and infrastructure operations will continue, as essential workers whose functions are critical to business activities will be allowed to report to work, provided their facilities strictly follow prescribed manning levels and prioritize only essential workers.

Ang also said all its employees will continue to receive their salaries as normal, even as the company has also readied cash assistance for staff of third-party providers who cannot adopt a work-from-home set-up, due to the nature of their jobs.

Testing at SMC’s own RT-PCR testing lab also continues, prioritizing essential workers. Ang said guidelines for returning to work will be continuously reassessed to take into consideration the prevailing situation throughout the NCR and nearby provinces. 

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