DOLE to prohibit âno vaccine, no workâ policy
A health worker holds up a vial of China's Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine during the first phase of vaccinations for health workers at a hospital in Manila on March 1, 2021.
AFP/Ted Aljibe

DOLE to prohibit ‘no vaccine, no work’ policy

(Philstar.com) - March 3, 2021 - 3:51pm

MANILA, Philippines — Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said that he is set to issue an order prohibiting making COVID-19 vaccinations a requirement for returning to work.

“That cannot be made mandatory. It’s up to the employee if they want to get vaccinated or not,” Bello said in Filipino, adding that the policy that is supposedly cropping up in some companies is discriminatory.

He said that businesses that would impose a “no vaccination, no work” policy could face an administrative penalty since there is “no legal basis” for such a requirement.

“It will be considered as illegal suspension or illegal dismissal, whatever action the employer would do if the employee does not get vaccinated,” he said.

According to a BusinessWorld report citing a survey by global advisory firm Willis Towers Watson and the People Management Association of the Philippines, a majority of companies are already moving to procure vaccines for their workers. The survey of 250 human resource practitioners found that "as many as 68% of employers said that they would fully subsidize the cost of vaccines, while 11% said they would partially pay for the doses."

'Emerging' policy 

Associated Labor Unions, the largest group of labor unions in the country, sounded the alarm about what it described as an “emerging” policy of some businesses requiring their workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19 before they are allowed to return to work.

ALU said that some factory workers have complained to them about how their superiors have told them that they would not be allowed to report to work unless they participate in the company-sponsored coronavirus vaccination drive.

It added that other business owners have given instructions to supervisors and managers to deem employees who do not get vaccinated against COVID-19 as unfit to work.

It also said that another group of employees have been told that they would need to present a certification to prove that they have received a COVID-19 jab before they are allowed to work.

Meanwhile, Iloilo City is mulling to mandate all employees in the city to get vaccinated against COVID-19 before they are allowed to work.

While the government targets to inoculate 60 million to 70 million people in the hopes of achieving herd immunity, it is not making COVID-19 vaccines mandatory. — Xave Gregorio

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