On nightwork prohibition on women employees

Co-Sponsorship Speech
SB No. 2701, Committee Report No. 18

“AN ACT
EXPANDING THE EXCEPTIONS FROM THE NIGHTWORK PROHIBITION OF WOMEN EMPLOYEES, THEREBY AMENDING ARTICLES 130 AND 131 OF PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NUMBER FOUR HUNDRED FORTY TWO (PD 422), AS AMENDED OTHERWISE KNOWN AS THE LABOR CODE OF THE PHILIPPINES”
By: SEN. PIA S. CAYETANO

16 February 2011

Mr. President, I rise to express support for Senate Bill No. 2701 under Committee Report No. 18.

Last August 12, 2010, your Committee on Youth, Women and Family Relations, pursuant to the Magna Carta of Women, conducted a hearing to determine which existing laws are considered discriminatory to women and to consider their amendment or repeal. One of the laws identified to be discriminatory to women is Section 130 of the Labor Code which states:

ARTICLE 130. Nightwork prohibition. – No woman, regardless of age, shall be employed or permitted or suffered to work, with or without compensation:

(a) In any industrial undertaking or branch thereof between ten oclock at night and six oclock in the morning of the following day; or

(b) In any commercial or non-industrial undertaking or branch thereof, other than agricultural, between midnight and six oclock in the morning of the following day; or

(c) In any agricultural undertaking at nighttime unless she is given a period of rest of not less than nine (9) consecutive hours.

Originally, the provision was meant to protect women from harsh working conditions or from being lured into engaging in prostitution. However, the age of globalization has brought about a shift in the work environment resulting in the employment of more women in certain businesses such as the business process outsourcing industry.

Mr. President, almost half of our current workforce is composed of women. To cite a specific booming industry, especially in the Philippines, 55.4% of workers engaged in business process outsourcing activities are women. In 2005, it was estimated that women compromise 74.5% of the workforce in medical transcription industries, 65.2% of the workforce in data processing centers and 58.8% of the workforce in call centers.[i] But given the nature of their businesses, Mr. President, most of these establishments operate at night to accommodate their clientele needs. In fact, the Department of Labor and Employment recognized this economic occurrence and issued Department Order No. 4 or “Guidelines on the Implementation of Flexible Work Arrangements and the Exemption from the Nightwork Prohibition for Women Employees in the Business Process Outsourcing Industry”.

Given these changes, Mr. President, restricting women from working during nighttime will be a hindrance to their capacity and ability to earn a living. This in effect is discriminatory to women and denies them of equal work opportunities – a right which is guaranteed under our Constitution.

It is for this reason that we in the Committee on Youth, Women and Family Relations, together with Senator Jinggoy Estrada of the Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resource Development, ask for your support for the passage of Senate Bill 2701 under Committee Report No.18.

Thank you.

[i] Gender Factsheet, NSO-Gender and Development Committee, March 2009.
 

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