Private sector employers face administrative penalty if they require their workers to receive coronavirus vaccine before they are allowed to enter the workplace, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said Wednesday.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said it is illegal for companies to require workers to get the vaccine before they are allowed inside working areas.
“The possible penalty is administrative penalty. It is not legal for employers to require the employee to be vaccinated before they can enter the workplace,” he said in a virtual forum.
“There is no legal basis. So it will be considered as illegal suspension or illegal dismissal. Whatever action the employer will give to the employee who is not yet vaccinated,” the DOLE chief added.
Bello is reacting to the statement of a labor group about the emerging mandatory “no vaccination, no work” policy being imposed by employers and business owners on employees.
Associated Labor Unions national executive vice president Gerard Seno said the group advocates for the vaccination of all workers and pushes for essential workers to be prioritized in the inoculation to safely reopen the economy.
“But these arbitrary actions taken by abusive employers are audacious acts of direct discrimination and straightforward coercion,” Seno said.
“Employees, either in private or in government, must never ever be subjected to any compulsion. The decision of any person not to be vaccinated should be respected in the same way we respect those who had taken the vaccine,” he added.
The group said the policy aims to ensure workers’ optimum productivity in the light of government plan to safely and fully open the economy to spur recovery amid the worsening economy caused by the pandemic quarantine restrictions. (Ferdinand Patinio/PNA)