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Private sector firms cannot pass on vaccination cost to employees, says DOLE

By CHUCK SMITH Published Mar 16, 2021 12:21 am

Private firms cannot pass on the cost of vaccination to their employees. Nor could they force employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine if they choose not to.

This is what the Department of Labor and Employment said via advisory issued regarding the administration of vaccines in the workplace on Friday, March 12.

According to the guidelines, private firms may procure COVID-19 vaccines, supplies, and other services related to vaccination. They may also seek the support of “appropriate government agencies” in procuring, storing, and administering the vaccines.

However, employers should shoulder the cost of vaccines if they choose to purchase doses for their employees.

“No cost of vaccination in the workplace shall be charged against or passed on, whether directly or indirectly, to the employees,” the DOLE guidelines said.

Private firms can also “encourage” their employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine once it becomes available. However, employers cannot discriminate against employees who choose not to be vaccinated. “No vaccine, no work policy shall not be allowed,” the advisory said.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said earlier this month that employers requiring the COVID-19 vaccine to employees before they can enter the workplace will face penalties.

In an interview with the news program Dobol B sa News TV on March 12, Bello reiterated that private companies can purchase vaccines for their workers but should not ask for payment for the jabs.

According to Beverly Ho, director of the DOH’s Health Promotion Bureau, the Philippine government has so far received a total of 1,125,600 COVID-19 vaccine doses and has already administered 193,492 COVID-19 doses as of Monday, March 15.

The Department of Health said it is expecting to receive more vaccine doses by the second quarter of 2021.

Last month, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez said the private sector and local government units have bought around 27 million COVID-19 vaccine doses.

Banner photo by Edd Gumban/Philippine Star