Press Release
February 17, 2011

Jinggoy seeks amendments to night work prohibition for women

The clamor of call center establishments to employ more women in the work place has prompted Senate President Pro-Tempore Jinggoy Estrada to seek amendments to the Labor Code of the Philippines that prohibits women from working the night shift.

Estrada, who sponsored the Senate Bill 2710, said that of the more than 500,000 call center workers nationwide, 70 percent are women. The number is expected to drastically increase with the approval of the amendments.

"Senate Bill 2710 seeks to empower women by allowing them to work between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. With the approval of this bill, we expect more women to join the work force, especially in the call center service," said Estrada, chairman of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development and Congressional Oversight Committee on Labor and Employment (COCLE).

At the moment, Estrada explained, women who work in call center facilities have to get an exemption from the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) to work the night shift.

Under Article 130 of the Labor Code, as amended, night work for women employees is generally prohibited in industrial, commercial and agricultural undertakings.

Exceptions to this rule, Estrada said, are cases when women have to work in actual or impending emergencies; when there is urgent work to be performed on machineries, equipment or installation; when there is a necessity to prevent serious loss of perishable goods; when women employees hold managerial or technical positions that require them to work at night or when they have been engaged in the health and welfare service.

Also included in the exception are occupations that require the manual skill and dexterity of women workers; when the women employees are immediate members of the family operating the establishment; and under analogous cases.

Senate Bill 2701 further stipulates that employers should provide an enabling environment whereby both men and women will be able to perform their work confidently and effectively without fear of danger or violence in relation with working at night.

According to Estrada, the recent boom of call centers in the country, which operate on a 24-hour shift, necessitates an expansion of the exceptions that allow women to work on night shifts.

"The call center service is expected to generate around 24,000 jobs in the next two years. With the unemployment rate at eight percent as of April 2010, the possible jobs which will be generated by these call centers will be a welcome solution to the increasing unemployment rate," he stressed, adding:

"Given the importance of the Constitutional mandate providing for equal opportunities for all, which will increase women participation in work and enhance employment generation, exceptions from night work prohibition for women under Article 131 should be expanded."

The proposed measure is co-authored by Estrada and Sen. Francis Pangilinan, and is listed as one of the priority bills of President Noynoy Aquino.

News Latest News Feed