Press Release
July 16, 2013

Sen. Pia seeks end to age discrimination in job hiring, employment

Senator Pia S. Cayetano wants an end to what she considers an emerging type of discrimination in the labor front - discrimination in employment based on a person's age - as the ranks of the jobless continue to swell while young college graduates are added to the workforce every year.

Cayetano's Senate Bill No. (SBN) 29 seeks to eliminate age discrimination in employment by prohibiting and penalizing any employer, labor contractor or labor organization that will discriminate against any individual on the basis of his or her age.

The measure is anchored on the constitutional provision that mandates the State to ensure equality of employment opportunities for all, she added.

"The basis for employment should be a person's knowledge, skills and qualifications which are necessary to perform a job. A person's age should not be an issue," said the author of SBN 29, or the proposed 'Anti-Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 2013.' (Note: View PDF copy of SBN 29 HERE)

"Prejudice against age is apparent in job postings which set arbitrary age limits for applicants. We often see these in classified ads, job fairs, billboards and the internet," she explained.

Under the measure, employers from the private sector as well as the national and local government units would be prohibited to:

- Print, publish, or cause the printing or publishing any notice of advertisement relating to employment suggesting preferences, limitations, specifications and discrimination based on age; - Require the declaration of age or birth date during the application process; - Decline any employment application because of the applicant's age; - Discriminate against an individual on account of his or her age in terms of compensation, terms and conditions, privileges, promotions and other opportunities; and - Forcibly lay-off an employee because of old age.

"You would think that this is an issue affecting senior citizens, but no, even those in their late 20s are already discriminated against," she pointed out.

"When I go around the country, people who look to be in their 20s, 30s or 40s would approach and ask me, 'Senadora, pwede po ba nating ipagbawal sa batas ang age limit sa job hiring? Kahit may edad na po kami, kaya pa naman namin, pero laging mas bata ang pinipili ng mga employer.'" ("Senator, is it possible to prohibit the setting of age limits in job hiring? We are still capable despite our age, but employers tend to prefer younger applicants over us.")

For violators, the bill proposes a fine of not less than P50,000 but not more than P500,000, or imprisonment of not less than three months but not more than two years, or both, at the discretion of the court.

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