‘No vaccination, no pay’ policy upheld by DOLE


COMPANIES with limited operational capacities in areas under Alert Level 3 could legally stop the payment of salaries of their unvaccinated workers, according to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

In an online media forum last Sunday, Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III explained the said policy will apply to establishments that were allowed by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to operate provided all of their onsite staff are fully vaccinated.

He noted the said condition covers hotels, restaurants, barber shops, spas and other wellness establishments under Alert Level 3.

The said firms, Bello said, are entitled to ask their unvaccinated employees not to report for work so they could resume their operation at a limited capacity.

“Now, if their workers are unable to report for work, the policy ‘no work, no pay’ will be in effect,” Bello said.

Currently, areas, which will be under Alert Level 3 until the end of the month, include Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, Siquijor, Davao City, and Davao del Norte

THE Federation of Free Workers (FFW) questioned the legality of the policy, which it said goes against Section 12 of Republic Act (RA) 11525, which barred the use of vaccine cards as a requirement for educational, employment and other similar government purposes.

Vaccine cards are the documentary proof issued by the government to prove that a person is fully vaccinated against the novel coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

“In my mind, it is illegal and such a policy should be abandoned. They did not show any pity to the ordinary people. His daily wage is his only source [of livelihood] and depriving him of such will starve him and his family. This is unacceptable,” Atty. Jose Sonny G. Matula said in a statement issued last Sunday.

The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) also raised a similar concern on the so-called “no vaccine, no pay” scheme stated by Bello as an overstretched interpretation of the IATF Alert Level System (ALS) Guidelines,

“The DOLE Secretary calls it furlough when what it really means is that an unvaccinated employee can now be ordered not to work and denied the right to earn an honest living for his family,” the TUCP said in a separate statement.

“Bello’s heavy-handed interpretation of the guidelines is causing fear, demoralization, confusion and unrest among unvaccinated workers particularly those who are willing to be vaccinated yet could not access the inadequate supply of vaccines,” it added.

Voluntary vaccination

THE Department of Justice (DOJ) reiterated that RA 11525 does indeed ban companies from requiring their workers to get vaccinated, to obtain vaccine cards.

Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra, however, said it is not illegal for companies to ask for the vaccine cards of their workers, who have already voluntarily availed of the Covid-19 vaccine.

“The vaccination card is the best proof of vaccination. So if requested to present it, then the employee may present it to the employer,” Guevarra told the BusinessMirror in a Viber Message.

“But if the employee is not yet vaccinated, the employer is not allowed under Sec. 12 of RA 11525 to compel the employee to get vaccinated in order to keep his/her employment,” he added.

Clarified position

THE head of the Department of Justice (DOJ) issued the statement after Bello said in a television interview last Thursday that employers could opt to fire workers, who will refuse to be inoculated against Covid-19 citing IATF’s ALS guidelines as “legal basis.”

But over the weekend, Bello apparently retracted the position stressing Congress must first pass a law before companies could start requiring their workers to be vaccinated.

He also said the requirement for the said policy would be for the majority of the country’s workforce to be already fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

Currently, he said only 30 percent to 40 percent of the labor force or about 600,000 to 800,000 workers are fully vaccinated.

Read full article on BusinessMirror

Leave a Reply