Companies who are prohibiting unvaccinated workers from reporting to work should pay their salaries, the Department of Labor and Employment said Monday, reiterating its earlier announcement that COVID-19 vaccines should not be a job requirement.
Unvaccinated workers should still be allowed to report to work, Labor Sec. Silvestre Bello III said, noting that while vaccines are not mandatory, these are "necessary" to help end the pandemic.
“There is no legal basis for the employers to compel their workers to be vaccinated… in fact, it’s a violation of freedom of choice… as guaranteed by the Constitution… in fact, it is an illegal policy,” Bello said.
“We will issue a compliance order for them (employers) to allow the workers to report to office, ‘pag hindi sumunod then we will tell them: ‘okay, ayaw mo papasukin, as far as DOLE is concerned, they are present, they should be paid. Iyan ang magiging disciplinary action namin diyan,” he added.
The labor chief urged workers who have yet to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and are facing discrimination in their work to report to DOLE through Hotline 1349.
Workers who are required to physically report for work are fourth in line in the country's priority list for COVID-19 vaccination.
While COVID-19 vaccines are given freely in the Philippines, the country is still grappling with a limited supply of jabs. So far, only some 11 million have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.