UNVACCINATED workers are now not only at risk of losing their employment, some are now also being threatened with delayed wages by their employers, according to the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP).
The country’s largest labor group immediately called on the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to impose harsh penalties on companies engaging in the so-called “no vaccine, no pay” scheme.
In a statement on Sunday, TUCP President Raymond Mendoza urged DOLE to come out with a new advisory “outlining the fines and imprisonment imposed on employers for withholding the salaries of unvaccinated employees.”
He said the advisory should include double indemnification for erring companies to deter others from implementing such illegal work arrangements.
Citing the provision of the Republic Act (RA) No. 8188 or the Double Indemnity Law, Mendoza said the concerned companies should be made to pay double the unpaid benefits they owed to their employees.
“The DOLE must act immediately before this practice spreads and becomes a norm,” Mendoza said.
TUCP issued the statement after some workers had the release of their salaries withheld by their supervisors until they could present vaccination cards indicating they are fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
It noted that the practice is against the provisions of DOLE Labor Advisory No. 03-21 and Republic Act 11525 or the “Act Establishing the Covid-19 Vaccination Program Expediting the Vaccine Procurement and Administration Process,” which states that vaccine cards “shall not be considered as an additional mandatory requirement for education, employment, and other similar government transaction purposes.”
TUCP spokesperson Alan Tanjusay lamented that the number of workers who reported salaries being delayed were outnumbered by those who lost their jobs because of their vaccine status.
“So far, no vaccine, no work is getting rampant compared to ‘no vaccine, no salary,” Tanjusay told BusinessMirror in a SMS.
He noted most of the said cases were immediately settled, but he said TUCP is currently still handling one of each violation.
Those with withheld salaries, Tanjusay said, involve a group of workers in the service sector and are pending at a DOLE regional office.
TUCP urged DOLE to intensify its workplace inspections to prevent companies from implementing anti-labor vaccine policies.