Issue of February 3, 2019
     
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Compliance of establishments on women’s rights

Empowering women and narrowing down the gender gap are still pressing issues in this time of global changes in the world of work. There is, in fact, an increasing demand for the presence of women in the labor force, and the Department of Labor and Employment is on the right track in addressing these issues because compliance of establishments on women-related benefits stands high.

Providing women with equal economic opportunities and unleashing their potential are essential driving forces of economic growth. We acknowledge the many benefits that can be derived when women are in the work force, such as greater equality and gender balance, increased household incomes, and enhanced financial stability of families.

The DOLE is taking its part seriously in the campaign to eliminate discrimination against women as provided for in Republic Act 9710 or the Magna Carta for Women, which provides for the recognition, protection, fulfillment, and promotion of the rights of Filipino women, especially those belonging to society’s marginalized sectors.

In the latest report provided by the Philippine Statistics Authority, two in five or 40 percent of wage and salary workers are women. Of the approximately 8.3 million working women in the country, 78 percent work full time.

The DOLE actively promotes the welfare of women in the work force by ensuring that their benefits are provided as mandated by law and through the Labor Laws Compliance System. Among the compliance indicators labor inspectors verify when they conduct assessments of establishments are in compliance with women-related benefits.

These benefits include maternity leave, leave for victims of violence against women and children, and special leave for women with gynecological disorders. The Labor department also checks their compliance with the Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act, specifically on the provision of lactation stations and lactation breaks for breastfeeding women.

Article 130 [132] in the Labor Code of the Philippines expounds the facilities for women. The Labor secretary shall establish standards that will ensure the safety and health of women employees. In appropriate cases, he shall, by regulations, require any employer to (a) provide seats proper for women and permit them to use such seats when they are free from work and during working hours, provided they can perform their duties in this position without detriment to efficiency; (b) to establish separate toilet rooms and lavatories for men and women and provide at least a dressing room for women; (c) to establish a nursery in a workplace for the benefit of the women employees therein; and (d) to determine appropriate minimum age and other standards for retirement or termination in special occupations such as those of flight attendants and the like.

For women to effectively claim their rights as workers, it is essential that they have a grasp of their fundamental rights. These are the significant laws in the employment of women: 1) Article 131. [133] Maternity leave benefits; It states that (a) every employer shall grant to any pregnant woman employee who has rendered an aggregate service of at least six months for the last 12 months, maternity leave of at least two weeks prior to the expected date of delivery and another four weeks after normal delivery or abortion with full pay based on her regular or average weekly wages. The employer may require from any woman employee applying for maternity leave the production of a medical certificate stating that delivery will probably take place within two weeks; (b) The maternity leave shall be extended without pay on account of illness medically certified to arise out of the pregnancy, delivery, abortion or miscarriage, which renders the woman unfit for work, unless she has earned unused leave credits from which such extended leave may be charged; and (c) The maternity leave provided in this article shall be paid by the employer only for the first four deliveries by a woman employee after the effectivity of this Code;

Article 132. [134] Family planning services; Incentives for Family Planning. (a) Establishments which are required by law to maintain a clinic or infirmary shall provide free family planning services to their employees, which shall include, but not be limited to, the application or use of contraceptive pills and intrauterine devices. (b) In coordination with other agencies of the government engaged in the promotion of family planning, the DOLE shall develop and prescribe incentive bonus schemes to encourage family planning among female workers in any establishment or enterprise.

Article 133. [135] Discrimination prohibited. 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 following are acts of discrimination: (a) payment of a lesser compensation, including wage, salary or other form of remuneration and fringe benefits, to a female employee as against a male employee, for work of equal value; and (b) favoring a male employee over a female employee with respect to promotion, training opportunities, study and scholarship grants solely on account of their sexes.

Article 134. [136] Stipulation against marriage. It shall be unlawful for an employer to require as a condition of employment or continuation of employment that a woman employee shall not get married, or to stipulate expressly or tacitly that upon getting married, a woman employee shall be deemed resigned or separated, or to actually dismiss, discharge, discriminate or otherwise prejudice a woman employee merely by reason of her marriage.

Article 135. [137] Prohibited acts. It shall be unlawful for any employer (1) to deny any woman employee the benefits provided for in this chapter or to discharge any woman employed by him for the purpose of preventing her from enjoying any of the benefits provided under this Code; (2) to discharge such woman on account of her pregnancy, or while on leave or in confinement due to her pregnancy; and (3) to discharge or refuse the admission of such woman upon returning to her work for fear that she may again be pregnant.

Article 136. [138] Classification of certain women workers. Any woman who is permitted or suffered to work, with or without compensation, in any night club, cocktail lounge, massage clinic, bar or similar establishments under the effective control or supervision of the employer for a substantial period of time as determined by the Secretary of Labor and Employment, shall be considered as an employee of such establishment for purposes of labor and social legislation.

For more information about the women’s rights employed in the private sector, visit the website of the Bureau of Workers with special concerns at www.bwsc.dole.gov.ph or www.dole.gov.ph.

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