The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) says that the "No vaccine, no work" policy that is enforced by any company or employer will be deemed illegal.
“It is not legal for employers to require the employee to be vaccinated (against COVID-19) before they can enter the workplace. There’s no legal basis for that,” according to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III at a virtual press briefing.
Bello cautions many companies nationwide against the "No Vaccine, No work" Policy, stating that employers would be held liable should they fire or suspend their employees because they chose to refuse to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.
“So it will be considered as illegal suspension or illegal dismissal or whatever action the employer will give to the employee who is not yet vaccinated,” he said
Vaccination of employees cannot be a mandated requirement of employers. Thus should not be used as a reason to terminate or impose sanctions against their workers.
“That will be discrimination. We will come out with necessary and appropriate department order to protect our workers,” Bello said.
Senator Francis Tolentino also agrees with Bello as he authored an anti-discriminatory provision in Republic Act 11525. The act was also called the Vaccination Program Act of 2021, this was recently approved and signed already by President Duterte.
The COVID-19 vaccination cards, which will be issued under the recent act, are not a mandatory requirement for every education, employment, or any similar government transaction. Therefore, should not be subject to any form of discrimination, Tolentino said.
Section 12 of the Republic Act 11525 states that the COVID-19 vaccination cards "shall not be considered as an additional mandatory requirement for education, employment, and other similar government transaction purposes."
The section provides an insight against any discriminatory acts that can be directed against people who refuse to be inoculated and that can also lead to other violations of basic human rights.
In addition, the act protects students, regular employees, overseas Filipino workers(OFWs), and more from any possible discrimination that may occur.
“Hence, inoculation should not be a determinant whether a person is fit or unfit for work. Neither should it be made a prerequisite for acceptance in any educational institutions nor in the availment of government services,” the senator said.
He said the provision also allays the fear of organized labor groups opposed to the adoption of a “no vaccination, no work” policy. – Paolo Romero, Cecille Suerte Fellipe