What DOLE Says About the No-Vaccine, No-Work Policy this 2021
In March 2021, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) released an important advisory. In a nutshell, it stated that the No-Vaccine, No-Work Policy is not allowed by the law. As a result, employers like you should not discriminate against unvaccinated employees in the workplace.
In its guidelines, DOLE says that unvaccinated employees should not experience discrimination in the following work aspects:
To help you cope with these changes, JobStreet gives you everything you need to know about the DOLE advisory. Also, we give practical tips on how you can create a healthy work environment on your own through writing inclusive job ads and hiring while avoiding vaccine discrimation.
No-Vaccine, No-Work Policy Goes Against the Labor Code
Vaccination is vital in protecting public health. But as of now, the law does not require mandatory vaccination even in customer-facing establishments such as salons, barber shops and restaurants . In fact, a bill that mandates COVID-19 vaccination is still with the House of Representatives. This means that to date, employees have the right to choose or refuse vaccination. As an employer, you can only encourage your employees to get their jabs. More importantly, the law states that you cannot let go of unvaccinated employees.
Here are some key points to remember in line with the Labor Code:
You cannot mandate vaccination among your employees.
You cannot require vaccination as a condition for hiring or work continuity.
Employees have individual health rights, meaning they have the right to refuse vaccination.
However, the government greatly encourages vaccination as an important measure of disease prevention.
The Philippine Labor Code also protects workers against discrimination on age, gender, and disability. Read the article here!
Nevertheless, if employees want to be vaccinated in the workplace, employers should pay for costs.
What DOLE Says About Workplace Vaccination
As of December 2021, almost 37 million Filipinos have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. This equates to about 53% of the population the government originally targeted to vaccinate this year. This is so the country could achieve herd immunity.
But there is a bit of good news: vaccine hesitancy is on the downtrend. In fact, a Social Weather Stations survey last September 2021 showed that 64% of adult Filipinos are now open to COVID-19 vaccination. This is an increase from the 55% last June 2021.
DOLE recognizes workplace vaccination as an integral part of your company’s occupational safety and health program. After all, this practice complies to guidelines from the Department of Health and the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).
Because of this, DOLE permits your company to buy COVID-19 vaccines, supplies and services. You may even ask for assistance from the government in managing your vaccination drive--from procurement and storage to transport and distribution.
If you have questions about COVID-19-related work guidelines, feel free to call DOLE’s hotline.
How to Write Bias-Free Job Ads (With Job Advertisement Example)
The DOLE policy can guide you in creating safe spaces at work. But you can also do your part in building an inclusive work culture. One way to do this is through fair hiring practices, which start with bias-free job ads.
This is a strategy that can help you attract more candidates. In fact, part two of the Decoding Global Talent Report shows that almost 69% of jobseekers want diversity and inclusion in the workplace. The figure is even higher at 71% for the Gen Z crowd. Additionally, these jobseekers would avoid companies that do not match their advocacies.
Here is an example of an inclusive job advertisement. Note that it does not discriminate against age, background and other factors. Still, it states the company’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate in a considerate way.
Inclusive Job Advertisement Example
We are a community of communicators passionate about public relations. We prioritize our wide range of clients while cultivating a work environment that embodies diversity, environmental care and work-life balance.
High oral and written communication skills
Ability to work with a team
Writing articles, social media posts and other content for our brand channels and media partners
Brainstorming with our creative team in coming up with campaigns
Build media relations
On-site work with required full COVID-19 vaccination, subject to accommodation
Also read: 6 Useful Ways to Eliminate Bias in Job Ads
7 Ways to Avoid Vaccination Discrimination During Hiring
Aside from following our job ad template, here are more practical ways to practice fair hiring.
1. Do not mention vaccination in your job ad. Requiring vaccination upfront may repel jobseekers. This is especially true in areas where vaccine supplies are not secure. However, if your company has a vaccination mandate, you can tactfully mention this in the job ad. But be sure to add a caveat phrase such as “subject to accommodation” at the end. This means that you are not closing your doors on unvaccinated candidates.
2. Do not ask jobseekers to state their vaccination status. Though some jobseekers include their vaccination status in their resume, avoid requiring them to do so. This is sensitive information, which some candidates may not feel comfortable sharing.
3. Be open to explanation. Vaccination is an important measure during the pandemic. Still, an unvaccinated jobseeker may have a valid reason for refusing shots. At least try to listen to their side of the story before forming your opinions.
4. Consider other qualifications. Apart from vaccination status, there are other factors to consider when hiring. Prioritize skills, work experience, and a jobseeker’s willingness to learn. If you discriminate, you may miss out on some great candidates.
5. Only mention vaccination when you are sure about hiring. Have you found your dream employee? Congratulations! Now is the time to ask about their vaccination status. Explain why vaccination is vital to the role and your business. Also, be prepared to show the DOLE advisory to let them know about their rights.
6. Offer free vaccination as a final hiring step. As mentioned in the Dole Advisory, “No cost of vaccination in the workplace shall be charged against or passed on, directly or indirectly, to the employees.” If the candidate will be vaccinated through the LGU, make sure to guide them throughout the process.
7. Protect medical info. Like all personal information, you should protect your employee’s vaccination records. At all times, you must uphold your workforce's data privacy and protection.
As an employer, you should always keep workplace safety in mind. Be clear about your company's stand on vaccination. But balance it with tolerance and respect. Still, you must remember that full vaccination does not guarantee 100% workplace safety. Require all employees to wear masks and observe physical distancing. Also, provide well-ventilated spaces for your workers as often as possible.