Rizal 2nd District Rep. Fidel Nograles on Tuesday, Oct. 19 joined the call for an investigation of employers who are imposing a “no vaccine, no salary” policy, saying that the Department of Labor and Employment should unmask and penalize them.
Nograles, vice chairman of the House Committee on Justice, said such abuses committed against ordinary wage earners should be stopped and those behind it charged.
“I urge the Department of Labor and Employment to investigate this matter thoroughly and immediately put a stop to such an insensitive and illegal scheme,” Nograles said.
On Sunday, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines revealed that some companies refused to pay unvaccinated employees’ salaries until they can show vaccination cards proving they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Nograles said that mostly daily wage workers living outside Metro Manila would bear the brunt of such a policy amid the incomplete distribution of vaccines outside of the National Capital Region (NCR).
Until the supply of vaccines is distributed more equitably, workers residing in areas outside NCR have basically no control over when to get vaccinated unless their employers provide the vaccines themselves, stressed the lawmaker.
Earlier, Nograles urged the national government to also expedite the vaccination of “commuter towns” around Metro Manila, which include Montalban, San Mateo, Antipolo, Cainta and Taytay in Rizal; Obando, Meycauayan, Marilao and San Jose del Monte in Bulacan; Bacoor, Dasmariñas in Cavite; and San Pedro in Laguna.
“Huwag naman po sana natin parusahan ang mga manggagawa para sa mga bagay na wala naman silang kontrol. (Please do not punish workers for something that they cannot control)” he said.
The Harvard-trained lawyer also reminded that while there are calls for mandatory vaccination, the enabling law for such remains pending.
“Hanggang walang batas na nagtatakda, malinaw na ilegal at discriminatory ang ganitong polisiya (Until this is not provided by law, it is clear that this policy is illegal and discriminatory.)” Nograles said.
DOLE Labor Advisory No. 03-21 also expressly prohibits compelled vaccination.
“Covered establishments and employers shall endeavor to encourage their employees to get vaccinated. However, 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. No vaccine, no work policy shall not be allowed,” the advisory states.