DOLE to workers: Report employers imposing 'no jab, no pay' policy

Published October 18, 2021, 3:51 PM

by Alexandria Dennise San Juan

Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III urged workers to report employers that are imposing a “no vaccine, no salary” policy as he reiterated that the practice is illegal.

DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III (Photo from DOLE Facebook page)

In a virtual media briefing on Monday, Oct. 18, Bello assured the public that the Department will investigate business establishments refusing to pay employers due to non-vaccination.

“Please come to us. If you don’t want to be identified, just tell us who are these employers and we will be willing to conduct an inspection. We assure you that we will take immediate legal action,” Bello said.

The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) earlier called on DOLE to conduct a probe on some employers who have been withholding the salary of their employees until they can prove that they were already fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The labor organization added that they would provide DOLE with the names of establishments implementing the said policy.

While no complaints have been received by the Department on the matter, Bello vowed to immediately address the issue once a report has been filed.

“We would appreciate if they could identify the names of the employers or the business for us to conduct an inspection,” he said.

Once confirmed, Bello said they will issue a compliance order against erring employees for them to pay the salary of their workers as there is no “legal basis” to withhold it.

“Yung hindi pag-vaccine, hindi iyan legal basis to withhold the salary of the employees, so hindi pwede ang ‘no vaccine, no pay’ policy (The non-vaccination of employees is not a legal basis to withhold their salary, so the ‘no vaccine, no pay’ policy is prohibited),” he explained.

The labor chief noted that enforcing the “no jab, no pay” policy is also a violation of the labor code which states that the salary of the employers should not be withheld without legal basis.

“We should never forget that we are in a democratic country. There is what we called freedom of choice. Hindi mo pwedeng pilitin ang isang tao na magpabakuna unless may batas na nagsasabing dapat tayong magpabakuna (You cannot force someone to get vaccinated unless there is a law requiring it),” Bello added.

Meanwhile, Bello still encouraged employees to get inoculated, especially if there is enough supply of COVID-19 vaccines, to help restart the economy and bring back the livelihoods amid the ongoing pandemic.

DOLE released an advisory last August against the “no vaccine, no work” policy, calling the practice “discriminatory.”

Under Labor Advisory No. 3 signed by Bello, the agency states that “any employee who refuses or fails to be vaccinated shall not be discriminated against in terms of tenure, promotion, training, pay, and other benefits, among others, or terminated from employment.”