Bello: Unvaccinated workers in businesses operating in alert level 3 areas can be fired
MANILA, Philippines — Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III on Thursday said that unvaccinated employees in establishments allowed to operate in areas on COVID-19 Alert Level 3 could be fired or denied work for not getting the jab.
This, he explained, was due to the resolution of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases requiring all workers of businesses authorized to open under alert level 3 to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
According to the DOLE chief, getting vaccinated was not a “mandatory obligation” until the issuance of the IATF resolution which now serves as the rule or legal basis for the termination of unvaccinated employees in establishments operating in areas on COVID Alert Level 3.
“You cannot fire an employee just because he refuses to be vaccinated, because vaccination is not a mandatory obligation of anybody, including workers, wala pang batas kasi (there was yet a law),” Bello said over ANC on Thursday. “You cannot dismiss an employee without a legal basis, and non-vaccination is not a legal basis.”
“However, may IATF resolution na nagsasabi na kapag alert level 3, pwede na mag-operate pero kailangan na fully vaccinated na ang mga empleyado. ‘Yun, meron nang batas, So that’s now an exemption, ngayon may legal basis na, kasi meron nang IATF,” he added.
(However, there is now an IATF resolution that says that under alert level 3, businesses can operate but employees need to be fully vaccinated. So there, a law has been provided. So that’s now an exemption, now there is already a legal basis because of the IATF resolution.)
Bello was then pressed to further clarify if his statements mean that employers could now fire employees who refuse to be inoculated against COVID-19.
“Correct, because now there is an obligation on the part of employer na kailangan vaccinated ‘yung mga empleyado niya (for their employees to be vaccinated).”
“So [the employer] can require ‘yung mga empleyado na magpabakuna na (employees to get vaccinated) because now there is a legal basis,” he added.
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