Responsive Ad Slot




Buhay Pinay



Philippine News

Join us at Facebook!

Phl govt extends mandatory insurance for all OFWs

18 May 2022

By Daisy CL Mandap 

Any OFW applying for OEC will now have to show proof of insurance coverage

Close on the heels of an order making Pag-IBIG contributions mandatory for all overseas Filipino workers, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration has issued a memorandum expanding the coverage of compulsory insurance for OFWs.

POEA’s Memorandum Circular No 10 dated March 7 this year, and posted on the Facebook page of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (Polo) on May 13, implements an order from the Department of Labor and Employment requiring all OFWs leaving the country to be covered by insurance.

DOLE’s Department Order No 222 issued on Nov 3 last year, extended the compulsory insurance requirement to all OFWs, including those who were directly hired, or are returning to their workplace, whether with the same employer or a new one.


To make sure that DO 222  is implemented, a worker bound for abroad will not be issued an overseas employment certificate – similar to an exit permit – if he or she cannot show proof of insurance coverage.

Previously, mandatory insurance as provided for under R.A.10022 covered only agency-hired OFWs, which essentially meant all those leaving the country as first-time OFWs.

Section 37-A of the law provides that “each migrant worker deployed by a recruitment/manning agency shall be covered by a compulsory insurance, which shall be secured at no cost to the said worker.”


Despite staunch opposition from various stakeholders who argued that the insurance was unnecessary and served no purpose than to free recruiters and the government of their obligations towards OFWs, the law came to force in 2010.

POLO's post says all OFWs, including those returning from vacation, should be insured

As in RA 10022, the department order provides that the cost of the compulsory insurance coverage shall be borne by foreign employers “or initially by the workers themselves”, subject to a full refund by the employer once they reach their workplace.

In Hong Kong, opposition to mandatory insurance in the Philippines has been especially fierce as employers of foreign domestic helpers here are already obliged to take out an insurance to cover their financial liabilities in case of sickness, disability or death of the worker.

Mandatory insurance, which employers are also required to pay for, provides a payout directly to the worker who is sick or incapacitated, or the nearest kin, in case of death.


Apart from paying for the cost of repatriation, the Philippine insurer is also liable to pay US$10,000 to the nearest kin in case the worker’s death was by natural cause, or US$15,000 if it was due to an accident.

In addition, the Philippines-based insurance also provides for a subsistence allowance of US$100 for up to six months for an OFW who is engaged in a legal dispute at the workplace, and the cost of flying in a designated person when the worker gets sick for at least seven consecutive days.

In reality, however, these additional benefits are difficult to enforce because without POLO’s help, a distressed OFW would find it difficult going after the Philippines-based insurer.

The cost of paying for both insurance is around $1,200 for each two-year contract. While the Hong Kong insurance is transferable to another worker hired by the same employer, the one in the Philippines covers the named worker exclusively.

In explaining its order amending the nationally legislated act, DOLE said the move was only temporary, and was meant to give extra protection to all OFWs during the pandemic.

The department said that as of November, a total of 809,374 OFW had been sent home due to lockdowns, and were given assistance by the government.

Despite the compulsory insurance coverage for agency-hired OFWs, only 32% of the estimated 10 million migrant workers were insured. DOLE said this left almost two-thirds of the OFWs uninsured, making them vulnerable to various risks in their host countries.

DoLE said the order seeks to strengthen the “mantle of protection to all OFW during this current global health emergency crisis…”

Don't Miss