Monday, May 30, 2011
Senators repeal two articles of labor code under Senate bill 2701
SENATE OFFICE, Manila, May 31, 2011-To provide equal employment opportunities for men and women in night work, the Senate yesterday has approved on Third and Final Reading Senate Bill 2701 repealing Articles 130 and 131 of the Labor Code of the Philippines which was sponsored by Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development.
Estrada said that his committee has decided to repeal the two articles which limit the job spectrum for female workers where they initially wanted to expand the exceptions prescribed by the Labor Code on women worker on night work since it aims to level the employment field for men and women while maintaining protection for women workers; but after hearing the invaluable inputs of Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, they decided to go all out in dismantling the discriminatory provisions in the Labor Code against women workers.
Under Article 130, it prohibits nighttime work (generally between 12:00 midnight and 6:00 AM) for women in industrial, commercial and non-industrial undertakings (other than agricultural) while in Article 131 provides exceptions on cases of emergencies, urgent work on machineries, managerial posts, cases permitted by the Secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment, among others.
Estrada said that these stipulations prove oppressive when we look at the boom of call center industry which operates on a 24-hour system, adding that before women workers can actually work, they have to suffer a burdensome process of securing paper work and permits.
“It introduced a new chapter in the Labor Code on the employment of night workers and provided measures on health assessment, installation of mandatory facilities for workplaces, compensation and benefits for night workers under the Senate Bill 2701,” Estrada said, noting that the provisions include those which provide that workers shall have the right to undergo a health assessment without charge and to receive advice on how to reduce or avoid health problems associated with their work and one that requires the employers to provide first-aid facilities, sleeping and resting quarters and means of transportation (subject to exceptions and guidelines by the DOLE).
“The measure is in compliance with our obligation to the CEDAW or the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women and consistent with the objectives of Republic Act 9710 or the Magna Carta for Women,” Estrada ended. (Jason de Asis)
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