Firms that bar unvaxxed labor must pay wages

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VICTIMS of a “no vaccine, no work” scheme will still get paid even without reporting for work, according to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

In an online press briefing last Monday, Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III said this will be their last resort in case a company insists on illegally banning their employees, who have yet to get their Covid-19 vaccine, to return to work.

“We will tell them okay, you don’t want them to report for work; as far as DOLE is concerned, they are present and they should be paid. That will be our disciplinary action against them,” Bello said.

Initially, he said they will ask the erring employers through a compliance order, to allow their unvaccinated employees to resume their office duties.

Bello issued the statement after militant labor group, Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) said some workers still suffer the “no vaccine, no work” policy despite DOLE’s Labor Advisory (LA) No. 03, series of 2021.

LA 3 states “any employee who refuses or fails to be vaccinated shall not be discriminated against in terms of tenure, promotion, training, pay, and other benefits, among other benefits, among others, or terminated from employment.”

Bello explained that forcing workers to get vaccinated is not allowed since there is no legal basis for it.

He also noted the practice is currently “illogical” since only a small portion of the country’s population are fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

As of Sunday, only 11 million of the country’s over 100 million population have been fully vaccinated.

To protect workers against the illegal workplace policy, KMU urged DOLE to intensify its workplace inspections.

Bello said he welcomes the call of KMU and advised victims of a “no vaccine, no work” scheme to report it to their 1348 and 1349 hotline so DOLE could inspect their respective employers.

“Just let us know, and we will immediately conduct inspection and if their complaint is found to be true, then we can take administrative sanction against the employer,” Bello said.

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