MANILA, Philippines — A bill that will prohibit and penalize employers who will decline any application or forcibly lay off a worker on the basis of age and other forms of discrimination has been filed at the Senate.
Senator Pia Cayetano said she filed Senate Bill No. 29 or the Anti-Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 2013 to put an end to what she considered an emerging type of discrimination in the labor front — discrimination in employment based on a person’s age.
The bill, she said, sought to penalize any employer, labor contractor or labor organization that would discriminate against any individual because of age.
Cayetano said the measure was anchored on the constitutional provision that mandates the state to ensure equality of employment opportunities for all.
“The basis for employment should be a person’s knowledge, skills and qualifications which are necessary to perform a job. A person’s age should not be an issue,” she said in a statement on Tuesday.
“Prejudice against age is apparent in job postings which set arbitrary age limits for applicants. We often see these in classified ads, job fairs, billboards and the Internet,” she said.
Under the proposed measure, employers from the private sector as well as the national and local government units would be prohibited from:
* Printing, publishing, or causing the printing or publishing of any notice of advertisement relating to employment suggesting preferences, limitations, specifications and discrimination based on age;
* Requiring the declaration of age or birth date during the application process;
* Declining any employment application because of the applicant’s age;
* Discriminating against an individual on account of his or her age in terms of compensation, terms and conditions, privileges, promotions and other opportunities; and
* Forcibly laying off an employee because of old age.
“You would think that this is an issue affecting senior citizens, but no, even those in their late 20s are already discriminated against,” Cayetano said.
“When I go around the country, people who look to be in their late 20s, 30s or 40s would sometimes approach and ask me, ‘Senadora, pwede po ba nating ipagbawal sa batas ang age limit sa job hiring? Kahit may edad na po kami, kaya pa naman namin, pero laging mas bata ang pinipili ng mga employer[‘Senator, is it possible to prohibit the setting of age limits in job hiring? We are still capable despite our age, but employers tend to prefer younger applicants over us.’]”
Once enacted into law, any person who would violate the measure would be fined not less than P50,000 but not more than P500,000, or imprisoned for not less than three months but not more than two years, or both, at the discretion of the court.