Philippines boosts anti-discrimination legislation

New rules expand coverage to better protect women in workplace

Philippines boosts anti-discrimination legislation

The Philippines’ House of Representatives has passed legislation to expand an old law prohibiting discrimination against women in the workplace based on the characteristic of their sex.

Article 135 of Presidential Decree No. 442 states that “it shall be unlawful for any employer to discriminate against any woman employee with respect to terms and conditions of employment solely on account of her sex.”

The new legislation, House Bill (HB) No. 4479, expands the coverage of the law by adding “or characteristics of her sex, whether actual or presumed” in that description.

It also revised the second act of discrimination, providing that favoring a male employee over a female employee with respect to assignment, promotion, employment benefits, training opportunities, study and scholarship grants solely on account of their sex or characteristics of their sex, whether actual or presumed, is discriminatory.

In July, a judge based in the Philippines was suspended and fined by the Supreme Court (SC) for making homophobic slurs against two litigants in court. The case stemmed from a 2019 complaint filed by the two litigants, where they accused the judge of "showing prejudgment of the case and obvious bias and partiality against them and their sexual orientation."

No favouritism, unequal pay

The legislation also added that favouring a male employee over a female one with respect to “dismissal of personnel or the application of any retrenchment policy of the employer solely on account of their sex or characteristics of their sex, whether actual or presumed” is discriminatory.

The bill still holds that paying female workers lower than what male employees who do the same job get is a form of discrimination.

In March, the Philippine Department of Labour and Employment (DOLE) announced this week an increase in minimum wages for workers in Metro Manila and various regions.

The new legislation also prohibits employers from discharging female employees from work while they are in confinement due to pregnancy.

Employers found in violation of the legislation may be fined between P50,000 to P200,000 and/or be imprisoned for one to two years.

“The conviction or acquittal obtained by the employer shall not be a bar to the filing by the female employee of a civil suit for the payment of salaries or benefits due her,” according to the House of Representatives.

Recent articles & video

Free Whitepaper: The power of recognition

Philippines seeks to hike service incentive leave to 10 days

HRD searches for most forward-thinking HR teams in Asia

What’s the top challenge for DEI initiatives?

Most Read Articles

2 in 5 workers say job 'biggest factor influencing mental health'

Employers urged to get accredited for ‘progressive wages’

7 in 10 UAE workers struggle with work-life balance due to tech