'Persuade, don't penalize': Lawmaker hits ‘no jab, no pay’ scheme

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 20 2021 09:05 PM

 Essential workers in Magalang, Pampanga receive their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine through the Office of the Vice President’s Vaccine Express initiative on Sept. 25, 2021. Charlie Villegas, OVP/File
Essential workers in Magalang, Pampanga receive their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine through the Office of the Vice President’s Vaccine Express initiative on Sept. 25, 2021. Charlie Villegas, OVP/File


MANILA - A lawmaker on Wednesday said employers are better off persuading their workers to get vaccinated than fining them by withholding their wages.

“Persuade, don’t penalize. Instead of shutting down questions and resorting to coercion, let us work harder on education. Opening lines of conversation and discussion is essential in helping our people arrive at a well-thought-of decision concerning their health and safety," CIBAC Party-list Rep. Bro. Eddie Villanueva said in a statement.

"It's a personal decision that neither the state nor business companies can and should impose on anyone.”

The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines earlier reported that some employees were denied their salary because they remain unvaccinated against COVID-19.

TUCP spokesperson Alan Tanjusay said 12 food service workers complained that they were not paid because of a "no vaccine, no salary" scheme.

Villanueva, an evangelist and president-founder of the Jesus Is Lord Church Worldwide, said he believes most Filipinos want to receive their COVID-19 jabs, but limited supplies have delayed this.

"Nevertheless, no private or public entity should ever use these dire predicaments as an excuse to exploit their hardworking employees," he said.

Withholding the salary of employees because they have not yet received the vaccine against COVID-19 is illegal, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) also said Tuesday.

“Labag sa batas nga 'yan. You cannot withhold the salary of an employee or a worker without legal basis. Eh yung hindi pagbabakuna, hindi legal basis ‘yun. Kaya bawal na bawal yang ganyang policy na no vax, no pay," Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said on TeleRadyo. 

(That is against the law. You cannot withhold the salary of an employee or a worker without legal basis. Vaccination is not a legal basis. So the ‘no vax, no pay scheme is highly prohibited.)

Bello said they have yet to receive formal complaints about employers implementing the scheme. 


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