"Discrimination due to age is one of the great tragedies of modern life. The desire to work and be useful is what makes life worth living, and to be told your efforts are not needed because you are the wrong age is a crime". - Johnny Ball
THE recent call of Manila Mayor Isko Moreno to all fastfood chains to accommodate senior citizens as their workers deserves a pat on his back.
In fact, his call is not new. It has been religiously observed – and complied -- globally. In Hongkong, a woman in her 60s works as food server in one of the city’s fast food restaurants, still agile and smart.
In Singapore, a male senior citizen serves as hallway cleaner on a graveyard shift at Changi Airport. The amiable middle-aged stewardess of an international airline serves hot coffee while wearing a contagious smile to her passengers.
Make no mistake about them, they are all ‘centennials’, yet they are on still their toes earning decent living.
What drives these wonderful people to work all throughout their productive years? What makes them useful despite their age? In their respective countries, they are all covered by an employment law protecting their right to work.
For them, age doesn’t matter as long as long as they are able to deliver the goods —mentally, emotionally and most importantly, physically.
Lately, the usefulness of our labor force have been recognized particularly those who already retired, but not entirely tired.
Thanks to Sen. Pia Cayetano, principal author of R.A. 10911 otherwise known as the Anti-Age Discrimination in Employment Act.
Finally, a ray of hope for those who are still wanting to sweat it out despite their age. What matters most is the desire to make a difference and make most of their time, skills and talent while still on the go, so to speak.
For clarity, these are the key points on R.A. 10911:
1. Who are covered? All employers, labor contractors or subcontractors, labor organizations, and publishers.
2. What are the prohibited acts? Employer
- Print or publish, or cause to be printed or published, in any form of media, including the internet, 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 individual’s age;
- Discriminate against an individual in terms of compensation, terms and conditions or privileges of employment on account of such individual’s age;
- Deny any employee’s or worker’s promotion or opportunity for training because of age;
- Forcibly lay off an employee or worker because of old age; or
- Impose early retirement on the basis of such employee’s or worker’s age.
Labor Contractor or Subcontractor - Refuse to refer for employment or otherwise discriminate against any individual because of such person’s age
Labor Organization - Deny membership to any individual because of such individual’s age;
- Exclude from its membership any individual because of such individual’s age; or
- Cause or attempt to cause an employer to discriminate against an individual
Publisher- Print or publish any notice of advertisement relating to employment suggesting preferences, limitations, specifications, and discrimination based on age.
3. Are there exceptions to the prohibition on age limitation? Age is a bona fide occupational qualification
- Age is a bona fide occupational qualification reasonably necessary in the normal operation of a particular business or where the differentiation is based on reasonable factors other than age;
Bona fide seniority system
- The intent is to observe the terms of a bona fide seniority system that is not indicated to evade the purpose of this Act
Bona fide employee retirement or a voluntary early retirement plan
- The intent is to observe the terms of a bona fide employee retirement or a voluntary early retirement plan consistent with the purpose of this Act: Provided, That such retirement or voluntary retirement plan is in accordance with the Labor Code, as amended, and other related laws
The action is duly certified by the Secretary of Labor and Employment
4. What are the penalties? At the discretion of the court
- Fine of P50,000.00 but not more than P500,000.00
- Imprisonment of not less than 3 months but not more than 2 years
- If the offense is committed by a corporation, trust, firm, partnership or association or other entity, the penalty shall be imposed upon the guilty officer or officers of such corporation, trust, firm, partnership or association or entity.
5. Which agency will implement the Anti-Age Discrimination Bill?
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) shall have the authority to investigate and require the keeping of records necessary for the administration of this Act.
Indeed, to be useful is what makes life worth living.
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