The Civil Service Commission (CSC) encouraged all eligible government officials and employees to get vaccinated against Covid-19 and to “adopt strategies and incentives to encourage their employees to comply with the COVID-19 vaccination.”
CSC expressed its support to the government’s National Vaccination Deployment Plan under CSC Resolution No. 2200239 promulgated on 16 June 2022, and circularized via CSC Memorandum Circular No. 7, s. 2022.
It mentioned, however, that no employee shall be compelled to get vaccinated, whether directly or indirectly such as “being discriminated against in terms of tenure, promotion, training, pay and other non-discretionary benefits, or being forced to take a leave of absence chargeable to leave credits.” On the other hand, the CSC said that unvaccinated employees who are tasked to do onsite work shall undergo Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) testing and present a negative result thereof, at a frequency to be determined by the head of agency, but “which should be at least once every two weeks” in accordance with IATF Resolution No. 149, s. 2021 issued on November 18, 2021.
The CSC added that Rapid Antigen Tests may be used when RT-PCR testing capacity is insufficient or not immediately available.
The COVID-19 testing for unvaccinated employees performing onsite work shall be on the employee’s own account, unless the government agency decides to cover the cost/s, subject to availability of funds and the usual accounting rules and regulations. Government agencies may also opt to place unvaccinated employees under flexible work arrangements.
Meanwhile, CSC encouraged all government officials and employees and their families to get the Covid-19 booster shot to increase their immunity and protection against the COVID-19 virus. In a separate advisory, the CSC reiterated its policy allowing government officials and employees to file for excused absence for absences due to COVID-19 vaccination. Under CSC Memorandum Circular No. 16, s. 2021 or the “Interim Guidelines on Absences of Government Officials and Employees Due to COVID-19 Vaccination and/or Adverse Events Following Immunization (AEFI) of COVID-19 Vaccine” issued on 12 November 2021, government officials and employees may avail themselves of the excused absence under the following conditions:
The guidelines define AEFI as “any untoward medical occurrence which follows immunization and which does not necessarily have a causal relationship with the usage of vaccine.” If the employee has exhausted his/her sick leave credits, Section 56 of the Omnibus Rules on Leave allows for the use of vacation leave credits in lieu of sick leave credits. In case the vacation leave credits have been exhausted, the employee may apply for sick leave of absence without pay.
Government workers who have incurred absences due to COVID-19 vaccination and/or have undergone treatment from AEFI prior to the issuance of CSC MC No. 16, s. 2021 may request for the restoration of the deducted leave credits through their agency’s Human Resource Unit.
Meanwhile, government officials and employees may file an application for Special Leave Privileges on the day of vaccination or booster shot of their children.