Workers in agricultural activity are harmed by sanitary provisions in Peru

Agricultural activity in Peru reaches 4 million people, and in the implementation of these sanitary measures, nearly 100 formal workers in the field could be unemployed immediately.

There is concern about the danger of social upheaval that the latest provisions of the health authority may produce through the entry into force of the supreme decree DS No. 179-2021-PCM, which provides that, as of this December 10, workers who have not completed their vaccination schedule will not be able to enter their work centers in person, only electronically, or otherwise "it will be understood produced the assumption of suspension of the employment contract ”.

Specifically, the Supreme Decree No. 179-2021-PCM provides the following:

"As of December 10, 2021, any person who performs face-to-face work activity must prove their complete vaccination scheme against COVID-19, the vaccines administered both in Peru and abroad being valid" and continues:

“In the case of private activity service providers that do not have the complete vaccination scheme, they must provide services through the remote work modality. When the nature of the work is not compatible with remote work, the assumption of suspension of the employment contract will be understood to have occurred, without pay ”.

Farmworker and business concern is reasonable. Let's not forget that agricultural activity in Peru reaches 4 million people, and in the implementation of these sanitary measures, nearly 100 formal workers in the field could be unemployed immediately.

What does this legal provision mean?

As of December 10, employers may only allow workers who have completed the vaccination scheme to enter the workplace.

Regarding the consequences for workers who refuse to be vaccinated:

  • If the unvaccinated worker can perform remote work, he must provide services under this modality, without affecting his employment relationship.
  • When it is not possible to carry out remote work due to the nature of its activities, the employer may suspend payment of the remuneration. If the parties agree, a license can be agreed upon.
  • The Ministry of Labor may establish exceptions later.
  • There has been no regulation on the possibility of sanctioning personnel who do not want to be vaccinated.

This rule directly harms workers in the agricultural world who have not completed their vaccinations and those who for different reasons do not want to be vaccinated, protected by the legal provisions that guarantee that workers and citizens in general are not required to be vaccinated.

An urgent exception is required

The groups linked to agriculture, both business and workers, regret that it has not been considered that agriculture is an essential activity, that it cannot be done remotely and that workers must mostly do it outdoors, or in processing plants that have international certifications of high demand in sanitary standards.

With a official statement, the Association of Agricultural Producers Guilds of Peru, AGAP, urges the authority and the Executive that governs the country to issue a special and urgent rule that makes the exception in agricultural activity of the requirement to accredit the complete vaccination scheme against the COVID-19 in the workplace and thus avoid imminent job losses, or give way to greater informality and the consequent danger of social upheaval.

Along with this, they request in parallel that the authorities of the Ministry of Health arrange for campaigns to be carried out directly in the fields and work centers, giving the greatest of facilities to workers who wish to be vaccinated.

Martín Carrillo - Blueberries Consulting

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