Employees have a choice but better to get vaccinated

Andrew Lo

KUCHING: Employees have a choice in whether or not they wish to be vaccinated and employers cannot compel employees to be mandatorily vaccinated, but employees are still advised to get vaccinated against Covid-19.

Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) Sarawak secretary Andrew Lo explained that in the absence of any mandatory legal requirement for the population to be vaccinated, vaccination against Covid-19 is not mandatory in Malaysia.

However, he said employers were compelled under the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994 (OSHA 1994) to ensure a safe and healthy workplace for their employees.

“Employees are reminded that they also have a duty to ensure that he is safe and healthy and also to keep his co-workers safe and healthy in a safe working environment.”

Therefore, he said employers may implement a policy preventing non-vaccinated employees or employees who were not fully vaccinated from entering the workplace.

“An employee who is not vaccinated without reasonable reasons will not be paid during the period of his absence from work.”

Lo said any refusal to be vaccinated which is based on medical or health grounds or any other valid reasons must be certified by a medical practitioner and would be accepted as a reasonable reason for not being vaccinated.

“We would advise employees that under the implied terms and conditions of their contract of service, they should not act to the detriment of their employers and co-employees.

“By not being vaccinated, they present a potential risk of being infected thereby being unable to work and thus disrupting the company’s operation, other than causing potential threats to the health and safety of others including their co-employees.”

He advised employees to get vaccinated against Covid-19, adding that their individual right not to get vaccinated ends when it interferes with the rights of others to be protected.

Last month, the Minister of Human Resources announced that the authorities might take action under OSHA against employees that refuse to be vaccinated without reasonable reasons.