THE Philippines’ House of Representatives on Monday, November 23, approved on its third and final reading a bill that expands the prohibited acts of discrimination against women in the workplace.
With a unanimous 226 affirmative votes, the lower chamber passed House Bill 7722, which amends Presidential Decree No. 442 or the Labor Code of the Philippines.
HB 7722, authored by Reps. Eric Go-Yap, Rowena Nina Taduran, and Jocelyn Tulfo of ACT CIS Partylist, and Edgar Aglipay of DIWA Partylist, seeks to strengthen safeguards against discrimination of women in the workplace on account of their sex and characteristics of their sex.
The bill classifies as discriminatory the acts of:
• Favoring a male employee over a female employee with respect to assignment, promotion, training opportunities, study, and scholarship grants, solely on account of their sex or characteristics, whether actual or presumed;
• Favoring a male employee over a female employee with respect to the dismissal of personnel or the application of any retrenchment policy of the employer solely on account of their sex or characteristics, whether actual or presumed; and
• Denying any woman the benefits of employment or other statutory benefits under our laws by reason of sex
It also prohibits the discharge of a woman on account of her pregnancy, or while on leave, or while in confinement due to pregnancy.
A fine of not less than P50,000 but not more than P200,000 and/or imprisonment between one to two years will be meted to any employer proven to commit or attempt in any manner to commit the prohibited acts.
The measure likewise notes that the conviction or acquittal obtained by the employer shall not prevent a female employee from filing a civil suit for the payment of salaries or benefits due to her.
Any employee who willfully aids or abets in the commission of the prohibited acts will also be punished in the same way as the employer.