The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) recently announced that it had been receiving reports of some employers barring their workers from receiving compensation on the ground of being unvaccinated, and have fiercely lambasted those enacting such a rule.
Establishments that implement this “no vaccine, no pay” policy, have been asking their employees to provide proof of complete inoculation before giving them their wages.
Laborers that have been singled out and victimized by the practice turned to the TUCP for aid, asking the group to intercede on their behalf, in order to avoid being wrongfully terminated.
TUCP President Raymond Mendoza called the policy a “reprehensible act of discrimination and harassment imposed on helpless workers”, criticizing employers and warning them that such a practice is in fact illegal.
Citing the Labor Code, Mendoza said that it is unlawful for employee wages to be withheld by any form that is without the employees’ explicit consent.
In a time of great financial strain for numerous Filipinos due to the Covid19 pandemic, the TUCP has referred to the act as “inhuman” and an obvious human rights violation.
To address the issue, Mendoza called on the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to investigate the claims, and if found to be true, ensure that the victims are paid in double the withheld salary while perpetrators be penalized with possible jail time.
“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 declared.
Mendoza added, which the national government itself had previously stated publicly, that discriminating against unvaccinated workers is a violation of the Act Establishing the Covid19 Vaccination Program Expediting the Vaccine Procurement and Administration Process, wherein vaccine cards are prohibited from being set as an additional requirement for employment.