‘No vaccine, no pay’ scheme is illegal, inhumane — senators | Inquirer News
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‘No vaccine, no pay’ scheme is illegal, inhumane — senators

/ 02:31 PM October 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — It is illegal for an employer to refuse to pay wages or salaries for work or service that has been rendered, several senators said Monday as they joined calls for an investigation into the supposed “no vaccine, no pay” scheme.

This scheme was flagged by the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), which said several workers have reported that they were not paid their salaries because their supervisors supposedly required them to first present proof that they are already vaccinated.

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“That is illegal. If work has been rendered, it is illegal to withhold salary regardless of the vaccination status of the worker,” Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, a former labor secretary, said in a statement.

“A vaccination card is not a daily time record that is a primary document to prove that a work has been rendered. Once a work or service is rendered, a company has an obligation under the law to pay the employee,” he added.

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Drilon also stressed that a vaccine card is not a requirement for employment.

He cited Section 12 of Republic Act 11525 or the COVID-19 Vaccination Program Act of 2021 which the senator said clearly emphasized that “vaccine cards shall not be considered as an additional mandatory requirement for educational, employment, and other similar government transactions processes.”

“If indeed there are companies that engage in the so-called ‘no vaccine, no pay’ scheme, the DOLE should remind them that they are violating RA 11525,” Drilon said.

Drilon, who also served as a justice secretary, joined the TUCP in calling on the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to ensure that the rights of workers are not violated.

“I call on the DOLE to look into this. While we do encourage all workers to get vaccinated, we must do it in a lawful manner. To withhold the salary of unvaccinated employees is outright illegal and inhuman,” he said.

“What the companies should do is to provide incentives and perks to those who are vaccinated to encourage other employees to line up and get inoculated. But they should never discriminate against those who are not yet vaccinated,” he added.

‘Inhumane’

Senator Joel Villanueva, who chairs the Senate labor committee, also described the refusal to pay an employee’s salary just because they are unvaccinated as “patently illegal and inhumane, plain and simple.”

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“We also call for DOLE’s immediate action to ensure our workers are paid their wages, regardless of their vaccination status and impose penalties on those who would be found violating the Labor Code provisions on the nonpayment of wages,” he said.

Aside from calling on DOLE to immediately act on the supposed “no vaccine, no pay” scheme, Villanueva also urged the agency to incentivize employers to encourage vaccination in the workplace.

Senator Risa Hontiveros, for her part, echoed the statements of her colleagues.

“The reported ‘no vaccine, no salary’ scheme is not only unacceptable but is illegal under existing laws,” she said.

“Hindi dapat maging requirement o bahagi ng isang polisiya ang ganitong klaseng diskriminasyon laban sa mga manggagawa lalo’t may kakulangan pa rin sa suplay ng bakuna sa bansa,” she added.

(This kind of discrimination should not be a part of a company’s policy, especially that there is a lack of vaccine supply in the country.)

DOLE, according to Hontiveros, should prosecute employers engaging in such a scheme following an investigation.

“The employers, instead of using force, should work with the government in inoculating their workers and provide education regarding the effects and benefits of the vaccine,” she added.

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TAGS: COVID-19 Vaccine, DOLE, Labor, Nation, News, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, TUCP
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