Employers warned: Don’t discriminate vs women
Employers would be violating the Magna Carta of Women should they opt not to hire female workers once the 105-day expanded maternity leave is passed into law, women and labor groups warned.
Joms Salvador, secretary general of Gabriela, said on Friday that the Employers Confederation of the Philippines’ (Ecop) statement that women workers would be preferred less by companies was not only “highly discriminatory” but also encouraged employers to violate Republic Act No. 9710.
Longer maternity leave
“It is a desperate attempt to discredit a potential law that would oblige employers, such as Ecop’s members, to recognize the importance of women’s social function in the reproduction of the human race, alongside the protection of their rights as part of productive labor, which the expanded maternity leave bill seeks to uphold,” Salvador said.
Earlier, Ecop acting president Sergio Ortiz-Luis was reported to have said that women applicants would be put at a disadvantage should the expanded maternity leave be passed into law.
He noted that this was because men would be preferred over women since they would not go on long leaves.
Under the consolidated bill approved by Congress on Monday, the number of days women are allowed to go on maternity leave will be raised from the current 60 days to 105 days.
According to the Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP), Ecop’s stand shows how “selfish and greedy” employers can be.
Not at same time
“Ecop knows very well that by the coefficient of time and opportunity, women workers would not get pregnant all at the same time. Therefore, they are not a burden to the company,” Alan Tanjusay, ALU-TUCP spokesperson, said.
“This discriminatory statement just shows that Ecop is antiwomen and has no respect [for] human nature,” he added.
Nagkaisa labor coalition spokesperson Rene Magtubo said the employer group’s position showed its “low regard to women for their productive role in producing good and services, and more importantly for their reproductive role in society.”
For his part, Sentro secretary general Josua Mata pointed out that data showed that only less than 1 percent of women workers availed themselves of maternity leave each year. And of all women workers, the majority, or 86 percent, were minimum wage earners.
“This means that they are within the P16,000 salary credit, which the Social Security System will pay,” Mata said.
Under the Magna Carta of Women, private entities found to have discriminated against women would be liable to pay damages.
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