unlawful "no vaccine, no salary" scheme as inhuman, illegal
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
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
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
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
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."