Congress has approved the measure banning age discrimination in the workplace.
This developed after the Senate adopted the House version of the measure that was approved by the House on the third and final reading last June 1, meaning only the President’s signature is needed for it to become law.
The measure, House Bill No. 6418 or the Anti-Age Discrimination in Employment Act, deems it illegal for an employer to print or publish, or cause to be printed or published, in any form of media, including the Internet, any notice or advertisement relating to employment suggesting preferences, limitations, specifications and discrimination based on age.
In addition, the measure prohibits an employer from requiring the declaration of age or birth date during the application process, declining any employment application because of an individual’s age, discriminating against an individual in terms of compensation, terms and conditions or privileges of employment on account of an individual’s age.
The bill seeks to promote equal opportunities in employment and supports employment of individuals on the basis of their abilities, knowledge, skills and qualifications rather than their age.
The proposal is in line with the state policy of prohibiting arbitrary age limitations in employment and the protection of the right of all employees and workers, regardless of age, to be treated equally in terms of compensation, benefits, promotion, training and other employment opportunities.
The measure covers all employers, labor contractors, subcontractors and labor organizations, the government and all its branches, subdivisions and instrumentalities, all government-owned and controlled corporations, government financial institutions, as well as non-profit private institutions or organizations.
Furthermore, the proposal prohibits the employer to deny any employee’s promotion or opportunity for training because of age, forcibly lay-off on the basis of old age, or impose early retirement on the basis of an employee’s or worker’s age.
It is also unlawful to deny labor organization membership to any individual because of age, or exclude such individual from membership because of his or her age.
However, the measure allows the employer to set an age limitation on employment if age is a bona fide occupational qualification reasonably necessary in the normal operation of a particular business, or where the differentiation is based on reasonable factors other than age.
The measure also provides that setting age limitations in employment would be allowed if the intent is to observe the terms of a bona fide seniority system that is not intended to evade the purpose of the proposed Act.
Also, implementing an age limit won’t be deemed illegal if the intent is to observe the terms of a bona fide employee retirement or a voluntary early retirement plan consistent with the purpose of the proposed Act, provided that such is in accordance with the Labor Code, as amended, and other related laws.
Violators will be meted with a P50,000 to P500,000 fine or imprisoned for three to two years or both , at the discretion of the court.
The Labor Department would then have the authority to investigate and require the keeping of records necessary for the administration of the proposed Act.