Uncharged leave for workers experiencing vaccine side effect pushed

The Baguio City Council appealed to the Civil Service Commission (CSC) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to consider the merit of granting excused leave of absence to employees who would manifest or experience side effects after getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

During the regular session on March 22, the city legislators supported the claim of the City Human Resource and Management Office (CHRMO) that absences incurred by an employee due to the side effects of the vaccine should not be deducted from their leave credits.

Atty. Augustin Laban III,  CHRMO Head, revealed that the city government considered putting into place an internal policy where such absences of city government employees shall be deemed as excused absences and shall not be charged against their leave credits.

“Mayor Benjamin Magalong agreed with this internal policy during a meeting last week. Considering the fact that these adverse effects of the vaccine are beyond an employee’s control, we have to be considerate as long as the doctor certifies that the employee is indeed suffering from adverse effects of the vaccination,” Laban stated.

The Civil Service Field Office-Baguio and DOLE-CAR, however, explained that their respective central offices have not yet issued any official order sanctioning the grant of such benefit to employees.

Anette Paredes, Director II of the CSC Field Office-Baguio, said the absence incurred due to side effects of the vaccination shall be charged against the sick leave credits of a government employee.

“We are with you on your humanitarian stand and compassionate leadership, but we have to have a legal basis on this matter,” Paredes explained.

Paredes, however, said that CSC-CAR Regional Director Marilyn Taldo had earlier raised the issue to the central office.

“We hope that the central office will come up with an advisory on this matter. The sick leave credits of the employee will be restored once the advisory is issued,” Paredes added.

Atty. Anthony Wooden, DOLE-CAR Asst. Regional Director, also said the leaves of employees relative to the COVID-19 vaccination will be governed by the existing policies of the company or the employer. The matter will be raised to the DOLE central office, he added. -Jordan G. Habbiling