240-day rule re disability

A temporary total disability only becomes permanent when so declared by the company-designated physician within the periods he is allowed to do so, or upon the expiration of the maximum 240-day medical treatment period without a declaration of either fitness to work or the existence of a permanent disability.[1] The 240-day period is meant to harmonize the provision of the POEA-SEC above with the provisions of the Rules and Regulations Implementing Book IV of the Labor Code, specifically Rule X, Section 2, on disability benefits.[2] Where before it was held that permanent disability is the inability of a seafarer to perform his work for more than 120 days, regardless of whether or not he loses the use of any part of his body,[3] now the rule is that if the injury or sickness still requires medical attendance beyond 120 days, the company-designated physician has, including the initial 120 days, up to a maximum of 240 days to declare either fitness to work or permanent disability, beyond which and with or without any declaration, the disability is considered total and permanent.[4]
[1] Vergara v. Hammonia Maritime Services Inc., 588 Phil. 895, 913 (2008).

[2] Id.

[3] Crystal Shipping Inc. v. Natividad, 510 Phil. 332, 340 (2005).

[4] Kestrel Shipping Co., Inc. v. Munar, G.R. No. 198501, January 30, 2013, 689 SCRA 795, 809-810.

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