Press Release
March 13, 2012

Bill protecting women against workplace discrimination approved

The Senate today approved on third and final reading a bill that seeks to end discrimination against women in the workplace.

Senate Bill No. 429, otherwise known as "an Act expanding the prohibited acts of discrimination against women on account of sex, gender, age, race, ethnic origin, religion or beliefs, disability or other status," was adopted with 11 affirmative votes, zero negative votes and zero abstention.

Senate President Pro-Tempore Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada, principal author of the bill, said that the measure aims to ensure gender equality in the workplace by penalizing employers or executives who prefer hiring male employees, or favor a male employee over a female employee with respect to the dismissal of personnel, promotion, or the grant of other benefits.

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile lauded the passage of SBN 429, noting its timeliness as the world celebrates Women's Month this March.

"The Senate has passed a number of bills on gender balance and equality, but this is the first time that we have approved a measure that specifically calls to task employers and executives who insist on hiring employees based on gender, not their skills." Enrile said, adding "this newest measure shows our resolve to protect women in the workplace."

Under the measure, Estrada said, employers or executives found guilty of discrimination against women will be fined not less than P50,000 but not more than P200,000 or jailed for not less than two years but not more than four years.

He said the bill will also protect women from getting lesser compensation, including wage, salary or other form of remuneration and fringe benefits.

"The measure will ensure that women workers will get equal opportunities in terms of promotion, assignment, training opportunities, and scholarship grants as their male counterparts," Estrada said.

"The Philippine Constitution, specifically in Section 14, Article II explicitly stipulates the fundamental equality between women and men, recognizing the women's role in nation building," Estrada said, adding that "the promotion of the rights and welfare of women can only be achieved if they will be provided with the support and protection of measures such as this."

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