DOLE Secretary: “No Vaccine, No Work” Policy Illegal
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III clarified in an interview on Thursday that the “no vaccine, no work” policy of some businesses is considered illegal.
He said in an interview that workers can’t be forced to get inoculated against COVID-19 if they don’t want to. He added that the said policy is considered discrimination. Bello also stated that at the moment, the country doesn’t have enough supply of COVID-19 vaccines to vaccinate workers. He clarified that there is no law that requires employees to be inoculated before they are allowed to work, thus it’s illegal.
The complaints on the “no vaccine, no work” policy came from workers in the agriculture, manufacturing, and services sector. Workers in those sectors raised their concerns with the Associated Labor Union (ALU). The majority of the complaints were from workers in the hotel, restaurant, and BPO industry.
The spokesperson of ALU-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, Chino Gaston shed some light on the issue and defined it as discrimination according to the Anti-Discrimination Law. In his report on the State of the Nation he said:
“Meron tayong tinatawag na Anti-Discrimination Law. Yung discrimination ay iba-ibang klaes na porma at uri ngunit sa aming paningin, isa itong uri ng discrimination.”
Gaston also added that they will help workers filing a case against employers who will impose the “no vaccine, no work” policy on them.
The Philippines started its vaccination program on Monday using Sinovac’s CoronaVac vaccine donated by China.