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Montevideo, August 9th 2022 - 11:35 UTC



Uruguay's Labor Ministry ratifies vaccination not mandatory for workers

Monday, August 2nd 2021 - 07:10 UTC
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Requiring workers to be vaccinated would be an act of discrimination, said Daverede. Requiring workers to be vaccinated would be an act of discrimination, said Daverede.

Uruguay's Labor Ministry has announced employers shall not be allowed to demand a vaccination certificate when hiring workers, according to high-ranking officials quoted Sunday by the Montevideo daily El País.

The Ministry of Labor and Social Security (MTSS) authorities have warned that action would be taken if any such complaint is filed and in order to safeguard each citizen's right to self determination.

Labor Director Federico Daverede told El País that employers may ask applicants whether they have been vaccinated, because as a matter of fact they usually ask any questions they deem relevant. But the dilemma would emerge if the answer to that question becomes a relevant factor when defining the hiring, because that, “in principle,” would constitute an act of discrimination.

Daverede explained such an attitude would fall within the scope of the General Labor and Social Security Inspectorate, regardless of whether the applicant has an employment relationship with the company “because it is a business attitude that is demanding things that the regulations do not protect.” According to the official, any potential employers who demanded potential or actual workers to be vaccinated but be liable for discrimination.

The official insisted that if a company decided to fire a worker on the sole grounds of the lack of a coronavirus vaccine, there the National Labor Directorate would open a negotiation instance to seek to reinstate him to his position. Daverede pointed out that since “the vaccine is not mandatory” the employer “has no legal framework to demand” it.

Meanwhile, Labor Inspector General Tomás Teijeiro made it clear that the vaccine cannot be set as a requirement when hiring personnel and that the ministry will control whether complaints arrive on the subject. “There is the right to health. But with the vaccine, since it is not compulsory, the general principle that governs is the right to privacy and for each one to do with their body as he pleases within certain parameters. It's like demanding a flu shot. You can't!” he told El País.

The Rural Association of Uruguay (ARU) had last week announced it would required temporary workers hired for the annual expo would be required to be vaccinated, including the artists who were to perform shows at the event. But after consultations with the MTSS it decided to backtrack so as to avoid any sanctions or reprisals.

The ARU will however require attendants to be immunized as it does fall within the organizer's “right of admission.”


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