Employers can’t fire workers who refuse vaccine – Bello | Inquirer News

Employers can’t fire workers who refuse vaccine – Bello

/ 05:32 AM March 04, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III on Wednesday warned employers against firing workers who will refuse to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

A worker’s refusal to get vaccinated is not a ground for termination, said Bello, a former secretary of justice.


“There is no legal basis for an employer to require workers to be vaccinated before they enter the workplace,” Bello told an online news briefing.

Compulsory vaccination policy

The Associated Labor Unions (ALU), the biggest organization of trade unions in the country, denounced the “no vaccination, no work” policy that emerged as the government officially began this week its COVID-19 vaccination drive among health workers, soldiers and policemen.


ALU reported that some companies have warned that employees will not be allowed to work unless they accept company-sponsored COVID-19 vaccination.

Some companies, according to ALU, warned that vaccine-hesitant employees will be reassigned or relocated to other branches, while others said they would force their employees to go on furlough, or “temporary” leave, until they get inoculated.

ALU said mandatory vaccination was “a form of coercion and discrimination that violates the workers’ right to freely decide with regard to their health and well-being.”

“They can’t make [vaccination] mandatory. It’s up to the employee to say whether he will get vaccinated,” Bello agreed.

“The refusal to be vaccinated is not ground for termination,” he added.

Bello said the Department of Labor and Employment would issue an official guidance against mandatory vaccination in companies soon.

‘Unfit to work’

According to ALU, some businesses have issued instructions to managers and supervisors to declare employees who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 as “unfit to work.”


Some workers reported on Wednesday that they had been told to present a certification of inoculation before they would be allowed to work.

ALU said internal company surveys showed that most workers were unwilling to be vaccinated for fear of adverse side effects.

Gerard Seno, ALU national executive vice president, said his group had been calling for vaccination of all workers, especially those in essential industries, to safely reopen the economy.

“But these arbitrary actions taken by abusive employers are acts of direct discrimination and straightforward coercion,” Seno said.

Employers, he said, can try to persuade their employees by discussing with them the benefits of being vaccinated, but should not coerce the workers.

ALU also denounced the Iloilo City government’s plan to impose a compulsory vaccination policy not only on local government employees, but also on workers in private companies and other businesses in the city.

“Employees, either in the private sector or in the government, must never be subjected to any compulsion. The decision of [workers to] not be vaccinated should be respected in the same way we respect those who have taken the vaccine,” Seno said.

For more news about the novel coronavirus click here.
What you need to know about Coronavirus.
For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.

The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link .

Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: coronavirus pandemic, COVID-19 Vaccines, refusing COVID-19 vaccination, Silvestre Bello III
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.

News that matters

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and
acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

© Copyright 1997-2022 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.