As some companies insist on ‘no vax, no work,’ DOLE urged to take action

August 12, 2021 - 10:41 PM
Residents undergo counseling before receiving their first dose of Sinovac Biotech's CoronaVac vaccine for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at the Barangay Sucat Covered Court, in Muntinlupa City, Metro Manila, Philippines, June 21, 2021. (Reuters/Lisa Marie David/File Photo)

As complaints mount about employers who require vaccination for work, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is called on to investigate four companies that demand proof of COVID-19 inoculation.

Jerome Adonis, secretary general of workers’ group Kilusang Mayo Uno, did not identify the four companies on record. He said one is a security agency, another in construction while the other is a government-owned and controlled corporation that operates in Metro Manila, Bataan and Bulacan.

“Malalakas ang loob ng mga kumpanya na gawin ito kasi wala namang nag-iinspect sa kanila,” Adonis said.

While the government and its health officials as well as top medical and scientific experts highly recommend vaccination to stem the rise of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines, there is no law mandating it.

Employers can neither use require their staff to get vaccinated to remain employed.

“We are reminding companies that vaccination is voluntary. It cannot be used to discriminate or remove a worker from work,” Adonis said.

The DOLE has encouraged employees to report to its hotline (1349) companies that in a “no vaccine, no work” policy, which has “no legal basis.” The supply of vaccines, moreover, has been limited.

READ: ‘No vax, no work’ is illegal, DOH stresses as fake news causes panic

“You cannot prevent the employee from reporting to work just because he is not vaccinated,” Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said.

Bello said labor officials will reach out to employers being complained about and compel them to allow unvaccinated staff to return to work.

It is also the companies’ responsibility to encourage employees to take the jabs, which they can also provide for them.

The Department of Health on Thursday, August 5 reiterated that “no vaccine, no work” policy is prohibited and shall not be considered as an additional requirement for jobs.

Civil Service Commissioner Aileen Lizada said that if the company continues to implement such policy, employers can face legal charges including “grave abuse of authority, oppression, and contact prejudicial to the best interest of the service.”