The Employees’ Compensation Commission (ECC), an attached agency of the Department of Labor and Employment, granted an appeal of the widow of a former laborer of Jenny Farms in Negros Occidental, by authorizing the grant of death benefits.  Death was caused by leptospirosis.

The widow’s claim for  death benefits under the employees’ compensation program  was denied by the Social Security System  (SSS) because  the claim was not supported by laboratory exam or microscopic agglutination test (MAT)  for leptospirosis.  She appealed to the Employees’ Compensation Commission (ECC), to review the adverse decision of the SSS.

The worker’s early demise at age 35 was traced to his job.  He was instructed to dig a canal at Jenny’s Farms at the time when   he had an open wound on his foot.  Four days   later, he was brought to hospital due to body weakness and abdominal pain.  After seven days, he succumbed to leptospirosis.

According to the ECC, medical studies provide information that antibodies that are detected in MAT generally do not reach detectable levels until the second week of illness. The ECC disagreed with the SSS because due to the severity of the worker’s illness, the patient succumbed before a MAT could be done.

The ECC noted that the bacteria which cause leptospirosis may enter through cuts and skin abrasions. The widow’s husband had an open wound when he dug the canal at the farm and it can be inferred that the risk of contracting leptospirosis was increased by his work environment.

The ECC ordered the SSS to pay the surviving spouse EC death benefits in accordance with the Employees’ Compensation Program.

EC claims for sickness or injury resulting in disability or death are filed at the SSS for the private sector and the GSIS for the public sector.