Senator Joel Villanueva, chairman of the Senate committee on labor, filed a bill expanding the list of prohibited acts in the Labor Code that constitute discrimination against women.

“As presently worded, the Labor Code of the Philippines already prohibits certain acts of discrimination against women,” Villanueva said in the bill.

“The law should adapt to changing times.”

But the veteran legislator said the law should adapt to changing times.

“Considering that almost 50 percent of our labor force is women, it is but proper to further expand and elaborate on the prohibited acts of discrimination against them,” the seasoned lawmaker said.

Under Senate Bill No. 2093 authored and filed by Villanueva, these acts are defined as forms of discrimination against women and are prohibited:

  • Favoring a male over a female employee with respect to assignments and dismissal solely on account of gender
  •  Denying employment or statutory benefits to women by reason of gender

The senator’s bill also seeks to penalize not only employers, who commit any of the prohibited acts of discrimination, but also employees or persons “who aid or abet in the commission of such acts”.

The Labor Code already prohibits, among other things, payment of lesser compensation to women for the same work as men, promoting men over women because of gender, discharging pregnant women and refusal to take women back at work for fear of a future pregnancy.

“It is necessary to revisit the scope of the prohibited acts of discrimination.”

“While these provisions in the Labor Code were a laudable effort to ensure the protection of women in the workplace and guarantee their equal treatment by employers, we believe it is necessary to revisit the scope of the prohibited acts of discrimination,” he said in the bill.

“Women shouldn’t be the last to be hired and first to be fired. When a firm is retrenching workers, women shouldn’t be the first to be shown the door simply because of her gender. Promotion should be based on performance and not denied on the basis of sex,” Villanueva concluded.


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