The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), together with the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases are issuing new and updated guidelines regarding working amid the pandemic. This is following the easing of quarantine restrictions in many parts of the country and companies requiring more employees to report on site for work.
The IATF recently released guidelines on required vaccination of employees, health protocols, and other related issues. And now, DOLE has also announced specific guidelines for employers, especially regarding getting inoculated with the COVID-19 vaccine. (Read: PSA: COVID-19 Vaccination Guidelines For Minors)
No work, no pay
According to DOLE, starting December 1, employers may apply the “No Work, No Pay” scheme for employees who refuse to submit to the mandatory COVID-19 regular testing. This is in relation to the IATF resolutions stating that all establishments and employers must require their employees reporting on site to be fully vaccinated with any vaccine brand.
Those who remain unvaccinated but need to physically report to work are required to undergo RT-PCR testing regularly, or at least every two weeks, at their own expense. Antigen tests may be used when RT-PCR capacity is “insufficient or not immediately available.” (Read: ICYMI: Vaccination of On-Site Employees Required In Areas With Sufficient Vaccine Supply Starting December 1)
“Those who do not want to be vaccinated but have to report on-site can report, but they have to be tested at their own expense,” Labor Assistant Secretary Teresita Cucueco said.
However, those who refuse to undergo said testing or remain unvaccinated but do not present a negative RT-PCR result, remaining leaves can be applied. But if all leaves of an employee have been exhausted, the “no work, no pay” rule will apply.
Cucueco added that Republic Act No. 11525, or the COVID-19 vaccination program law passed in February says that vaccination is not mandatory for employees. “The law says it’s not mandatory. That’s why we are saying you do have an option. If you don’t like [to be vaccinated], you can be tested regularly at your own expense,” she said.
She also said they will be monitoring employers for any abuse of the said mandate, or if there will be any violations done.