Employers who will impose sanctions on their personnel for failure to get vaccinated will be liable for illegal suspension or illegal termination of an employee, the Labor department said on Thursday.
This “no vaccine, no work” policy is discriminatory, Labor Undersecretary Benjo Benavidez said during the Palace Laging Handa briefing.
Likewise, the Labor official assured the public that an advisory has been issued stating that COVID-19 vaccines for employees are for free.
Benavidez said employers have the responsibility to promote vaccine confidence among their employees to help the country reach herd immunity against COVID-19.
The government is eyeing to fully vaccinate 76.3 million people or 70% of the population by the end of the year to achieve herd immunity against COVID-19
DOLE however has yet to receive complaints regarding the ‘no vaccine, no work policy’ allegedly being implemented by some companies.
“We have not yet received a formal complaint or complaint. What we get are reports, but no companies are named,” Benavidez said.
Benavidez, however, added that they are now conducting their own investigations on these reports.
“We have our own investigation, in addition to inspection, to find out who these companies are and where they are for them to be inspected,” Benavidez said.
At the same time, he added that any employee who has been fired or suspended for not being vaccinated can file a complaint.
“But if the unvaccinated person is not admitted, his salary will continue. If he is removed or suspended, he can file a complaint for illegal suspension or illegal termination,” he added.
Benavidez added that inspections on companies for their compliance with health and safety standards and health protocols and vaccination at work will continue.“The inspection will continue. 84,000 (establishments) is the target this year for inspection to ensure they comply with occupational health and safety standards and health protocols and vaccination. There are no penalties contained in the labor advisory,” he said.
The DOLE has earlier warned companies that vaccination against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) is not mandatory for workers.