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TUCP condemns unlawful "no vaccine, no salary" scheme as inhuman, illegal

Press Release
October 17, 2021

QUEZON CITY – The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) strongly condemns as inhuman and illegal the 'no vaccine, no salary' scheme imposed by employers over their unvaccinated employees.

Under the scheme, some unscrupulous employers withhold the salary of unvaccinated employees until they have shown to company supervisors their vaccination cards indicating that they are fully vaccinated.

Several workers from different enterprises deprived of their salaries until they showed their vaccination cards proving that they are fully vaccinated sought TUCP assistance to intervene on their behalf for fear of reprisals, being singled out or even being terminated if they come out in the open.

Violation of Labor Code

"The TUCP strongly condemns workplace arm-twisting being done by these employers. This is clearly an act of reprehensible discrimination and harassment imposed on helpless workers. We warn employers that such a scheme to compel workers to get vaccinated is contrary and unlawful pursuant to Article 116 of the Labor Code and is punishable by a fine or imprisonment," said TUCP President and TUCP Partylist Rep. Raymond Mendoza.

Article 116 of the Labor Code says: "It shall be unlawful for any person, directly or indirectly, to withhold any amount from the wages of a worker or induce him to give up any part of his wages by force, stealth, intimidation, threat, or by any other means whatsoever without the worker's consent."

Violation of human rights

The labor leader said compelling workers to get vaccinated by withholding worker's wage and denying employees' full compensation for work performed or rendered is not only a violation of the Labor Code but obviously also a human rights violation.

Double indemnification for violators

Mendoza said they asked the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), which earlier issued Labor Advisory No. 03-21 prohibiting compelled vaccination, to conduct immediate labor inspections of these identified workplaces and ensure that unvaccinated workers are paid an amount equivalent to double the unpaid wages owing to them as provided by Republic Act No.8188 or the Double Indemnity Law.

According to paragraph 2 & 3 of Section 1 of RA 8188: "Any employer concerned shall be ordered to pay an amount equivalent to double the unpaid benefits owing to the employees. Provided, that payment of indemnity shall not absolve the employer from the criminal liability imposable under this Act.

If this violation is committed by a corporation, trust or firm, partnership, association, or any other entity the penalty of imprisonment shall be imposed upon the entity's responsible officers, including, but not limited to, the president, vice-president, chief executive officer, general manager, managing director or partner."

"The DOLE must act immediately before this practice spreads and becomes a norm. To stop this unlawful scheme dead on its tracks, I have urged Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III to issue a labor advisory clearly outlining the fines and imprisonment imposable on employers for withholding the salaries of unvaccinated employees," Mendoza said.

Violation of COVID-19 vaccination program

Mendoza further explained that the 'no vaccine, no wage' scheme is violative of Section 12 of the Republic Act 11525 or the "Act Establishing the Covid-19 Vaccination Program Expediting the Vaccine Procurement and Administration Process" which says that vaccine cards "shall not be considered as an additional mandatory requirement for education, employment, and other similar government transaction purposes."