Labor chief tells employers: Refusal to get COVID jab not a ground for sacking workers

Published March 3, 2021, 3:14 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

Workers’ refusal to receive coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine shots can’t be made a ground for termination by the employer.

Screengrab from Zoom meeting)

Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Sec. Silvestre Bello III had this to say during an online press briefing Wednesday, March 3 amid reports that some companies are making COVID vaccinations mandatory.

“Hindi pwedeng gawing mandatory yan. Nasa mga empleyado yan kung gusto nilang magpabakuna o hindi (They can’t make that mandatory. It’s up to the employees if they want to get vaccinated or not),” Bello said.

“Yung (The) refusal to be vaccinated is not a ground for termination,” he said, adding that DOLE “would soon come out with the appropriate department order to protect our workers.”

Bello, a former congressman and Department of Justice (DOJ) secretary, said there’s no legal basis for an employer or company to require an employee to get vaccinated first before he or she can enter the workplace.

“It would be considered an illegal suspension or illegal dismissal (on the part of the employer),” he said.

Erring companies would be slapped with an administrative case, the labor chief said.