Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Age Limit and Job Discrimination in the Philippines

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With incidents such as the Arab Spring in the Middle East and North Africa, devastating tsunami and earthquakes in Japan, overseas Filipino workers (OFW) are often at risk of losing their jobs and even lives while trying to earn a living away from their families.

No wonder forward-thinking ones are looking at alternatives to their current situations. Some look at neighboring countries while others look forward to reuniting with families and looking for jobs back in the Philippines.

OFWs normally receive higher pay overseas, hence the main reason for going abroad. The typical pay scale in the Philippines is relatively paltry at best and for obvious reasons doesn’t attract balikbayans and returning OFWs. However, this may not be the biggest hurdle in getting a job in the Philippines. Veteran overseas workers may find themselves unwanted, snubbed, and unqualified on most jobs on offer even if skills and experience match job vacancies very well. The reason: age discrimination.

Try to look at Philippine classified ads on newspapers and online job sites and you’ll see age discrimination when posting for job vacancies. It appears that the most bankable people in the job market are those who belong to the yuppie generation — aged between 20 and 35. Their jobs are generally categorized from entry level for fresh college graduates to junior managerial positions for those with several years of work experience.

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We can theorize that such age discrimination exists partly because jobseekers in their twenties are perceived to lack experience and therefore don’t have enough negotiating power to demand higher salaries than experienced ones.

Having just left the university makes them easy to train. Office politics might also prevent the entry of deserving but ‘overaged’ candidates into the organization. The idea of fresh talent is taken out of context and often gets associated with fresh graduates, with special preference to those who graduate from popular institutions of learning. If certain corporations in China are willing to ‘rent’ white people to provide a psychological edge when it comes to facing potential partners or clients, Filipino companies take pride in having executives coming from prestigious schools such as Ateneo de Manila, De La Salle University, or University of the Philippines.

Another possible reason companies prefer to hire younger people is because most of these applicants are assumed to be fit to work for long hours and don’t need to attend to families such as school-age children like many older employers do. The competition for jobs may discourage other applicants who instead look for opportunities abroad even for jobs that are not in line with their university degrees and professions. They find jobs as sales ladies, domestic helpers or factory workers which offer better pay despite lack of association with their career plans. But when they return to the Philippines after their stint abroad, job prospects look bleak.

People desperate for jobs who ask priests to bless their resumés.
People desperate for jobs who ask priests to bless their resumés.

Philippine senator Pia Cayetano filed Senate Bill 252 which makes it unlawful for any employer to print or publish, even on Internet, any notice of advertisement relating to employment “suggesting preferences, limitations, specifications, and discrimination based on age.”

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The penalty of fines between P50,000 and P500,000 along with jail time of up to two years await those who would violate the proposed legislation. In the filing, Senator Pia Cayetano noted emerging discrimination against older people, especially with a number of fresh graduates joining the labor force. A similar law was proposed by senator Jinggoy Estrada in 2007 but the bill died in committee. Another bill that was introduced this year is awaiting consideration by Senate’s Labor, Employment, and Human Resources Development Committee.

The Department of Labor enacted Department Order No. 170, or the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act 10911. The Order makes it unlawful for an employer to 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.

The law becomes a much-needed update to the Philippine Labor Code which mandates workplace protections against discrimination based on race, sex or creed yet doesn’t cover bias on age. Without such safeguards, it is easier for companies to implement early retirement schemes just as flag-carrier Philippine Airlines enforced mandatory retirement age for staff who reach 40 years old.

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In other countries, laws against age discrimination have been enacted. In the United States, laws protect certain applicants and employees 40 years of age and older from discrimination on the basis of age in hiring, promotion, discharge, compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment.

UK’s Employment Equality (Age) Regulations of 2006 make age prejudice and age-based decisions in the workplace unlawful. Hong Kong’s Labour Department provides guidelines and recommends to employers to avoid specifying an age range or an upper or lower age limit when placing advertisements for employment.

If such a practice of hiring based on age is ingrained in the Filipino workplace culture, then it may take some time before this gets corrected unless a relevant law is passed. Or a certain provision of economic policy is revised. Currently, foreign companies are entitled to only up to 40 percent ownership of a company based in the Philippines. If Pinoy stakeholders control how the company is run, notably on age-restricted hiring of staff under the guise of cost-cutting, older job applicants will have little chance in getting jobs in the market.

To address age discrimination in the Philippines, some applicants resort to forging birth certificates to create an impression of being young and instantly become qualified candidates for a position. The practice is so common among Filipino sailors that those engaged in such deception are called ‘born again’.

Better personal care, fitness, and healthy food may help project a younger image but this approach doesn’t apply to all candidates deemed ‘overage’ in Philippine labor market standards. Maritime officials have increased the crackdown on those who forge documents to appear young at least on paper.

So while the government is proud to announce thousands of jobs awaiting Filipinos repatriated from distressed places, it might as well ensure that returning OFWs will at least be considered for the position regardless of age. Otherwise, OFWs will never consider the Philippines as a future career destination because of two reasons: low pay and the dreaded age discrimination.

Job vacancy sources: JobsDB Philippines – 30 July 2011

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42 COMMENTS

  1. sa pinas nga ako nakakaranas ng matinding diskreminasyon ei……..buti pa abroad nkakaranas ng maayos na sistema bagaman at di katulad ng local nila at least mas maayos kesa pinas……i hate pinas system…………hmp!

  2. TOTOO KA PO! GRABE AGE DESCRIMINATION DITO SA ATIN SA PINAS. LIKE ME, OFW ME SA TAIWAN FOR ALMOST 12 YEARS AT NO REGRETS SA WORK KO DUN SA ELECTRONICS AT SEMICON. UMUWI AKO LAST 2008 AT THE AGE OF 35. BUT UNTIL NOW, 38 NA ME, I CANT FIND A JOB. I VERY MUCH NEEDED A JOB KC I AM A SINGLE MOTHER. SO SANA PO KUNG SINO MAN MAKABASA NG MESSAGE KONG ITO, PLEASE PLEASE HIRE ME!!!!!!!!!!!!! I ASSURE YOU THAT I AM A TRUSTWORTHY PERSON. THANK U AND TO GOD BE THE GLORY!

  3. napauwi ako last may 2011 dahil sa saudization, ngayon nag aapply ako ng local work dito sa pinas ng plumbing work pero di ako matanggap tanggap dahil sa age discrimination. 47 years na ako at kaya ko pa namang magtrabaho pero wala na pala akong mapapala dito! masakit na dito pa sa pinas na sarili mong bansa madiscriminate ka dahil sa edad. anong gagawin ko magnanakaw na lang para makalaban sa hirap ng buhay? sana magkaroon ng programa gobyerno para sa OFW na makahanap ng trabaho ng walang discriminasyon!

  4. dito sa pilipinas maaga mag retire kahit kaya pa mag trabaho walang maaplayan dahil sa age discrminaton buti pa sa bang bansa kahit 60 year old na hanggang kaya ng katawan may trabaho at puwede pang mag trabaho bilang casher. bulok yang sistema sa pilipinas if gusto nila kumunti ang unemployment dapat bigyan ng chance ng mga employer mag hire ng may edad na dahil mas marami silang pinalalamon!! kung gusto ninyo kumunti ang walang trabaho dapat di nila higpitan ang requrements!

  5. bakit nga ganun ang govt natin ,yung ibang mga disenteng mga tao lampas na fifties at may good body physique pag nalaman na older than 45 disqualified na agad ,rejected na.. kaya minsan di maiwasan if you compare other countries,mas linient sila.Di nila alam mas qualified pa nga sila they have more experience.

  6. totoo mahirap maghanap ng trabaho sa Pilipinas dahil sa bulok na system natin, at mas mahirap pa kung ex-OFW ka at mag-apply ng local na trabaho…funny nga eh! yan ang "Bagong Bayani", 🙁

  7. sana nga matuloy n itong senate bill 252 n to, at di basta mabasura n nman…bakit? di kaya dahil may mga nabayaran ng mga higanting negosyante kaya nabasura ung kay Jinggoy nun? Corruptrion prin b pinapairal ntin? tsk tsk tsk…

  8. I'm 61 by Sept. 2012 and I started working abroad in the '70s and still employed here in the Middle East. I never dreamed to work abroad but instead dreamed to be employed locally. I think at my age right now, the only job I am fit to be is a………..POLITICIAN ( it does not requires experiences as long as you can digest their system).

  9. I’m 61 by Sept. 2012 and I started working abroad in the ’70s and still employed here in the Middle East. I never dreamed to work abroad but instead dreamed to be employed locally. I think at my age right now, the only job I am fit to be is a………..POLITICIAN ( it does not requires experiences as long as you can digest their system).

  10. Dito masusukat ang Political Will ng mga mambabatas.. kasiguruhan sa mga returnee as OFW, kaya di pagilan ang isang pinoy na lalabas ng bansa sa kadahilanan na hindi na sila makakakuha ng matinong trabaho sa Pilipinas dahil sa Age Discrimination. Dito sa ibang bansa as long na kaya mo gawin ang task mo, compensated ka at may dagdag pa sa sahod mo. Sa pinas kakarampot lang na hirit sa sahod malupet na debate naman aabutin. Isa pa, kung hindi kagandahan ang Pagmumukha mo ( you deserve for a message ” tatawagan ka na lang namin” ).. Ba’t di na lang sabihin ng diretso na hindi tanggap para walang aasa.( Psychologically and Emotionally, Involve). Ang tataas na nga ng Standard ng qualification sa trabaho, walang kasing pandak naman ang Sahod na inooffer. tapos Aasa ka pa sa matinong pamumuhay eh sahod mo pa lang kulang na bambayad sa mga TAXES na kinokulekta ng Gobyerno..lahat na lang may tax, di naman masyado halata may pinupuntahan ang buwis ng tao. Kung walang age discrimination at mataas na sahod sa bansa natin at maraming trabaho? Ba’t kailangan ko pang aalis ng bansa?… There’s No Place LIke Home ika nga ng iba, eh totoo naman… Kung ganyan pa rin ang Gobyerno natin, ASA ka pa Juan Dela Cruz!…

  11. Dito masusukat ang Political Will ng mga mambabatas.. kasiguruhan sa mga returnee as OFW, kaya di pagilan ang isang pinoy na lalabas ng bansa sa kadahilanan na hindi na sila makakakuha ng matinong trabaho sa Pilipinas dahil sa Age Discrimination. Dito sa ibang bansa as long na kaya mo gawin ang task mo, compensated ka at may dagdag pa sa sahod mo. Sa pinas kakarampot lang na hirit sa sahod malupet na debate naman aabutin. Isa pa, kung hindi kagandahan ang Pagmumukha mo ( you deserve for a message ” tatawagan ka na lang namin” ).. Ba’t di na lang sabihin ng diretso na hindi tanggap para walang aasa.( Psychologically and Emotionally, Involve). Ang tataas na nga ng Standard ng qualification sa trabaho, walang kasing pandak naman ang Sahod na inooffer. tapos Aasa ka pa sa matinong pamumuhay eh sahod mo pa lang kulang na bambayad sa mga TAXES na kinokulekta ng Gobyerno..lahat na lang may tax, di naman masyado halata may pinupuntahan ang buwis ng tao. Kung walang age discrimination at mataas na sahod sa bansa natin at maraming trabaho? Ba’t kailangan ko pang aalis ng bansa?… There’s No Place LIke Home ika nga ng iba, eh totoo naman… Kung ganyan pa rin ang Gobyerno natin, ASA ka pa Juan Dela Cruz!…

  12. Kaya maraming Pinoy ages from 37 to 55 and above ay sa abroad na lang nagaapply kc walang age discrimination. Ang importante kc sa abroad ay physically and mentally fit ang isang aplikante. Sa Pinas ay iba, mas priority nila ang mga bata kahit hindi pa masyado hasa sa work experience. Sana nga maimplement na yang batas sa Pinas regarding sa Age DiscrImination. Pero sa dami nating batas, yung implementation ang palpak! Magtulungan po tayo! Be responsible at disiplinadong mamamayan! Salamat PO.

  13. i found it ridiculous reading this article because we know for a fact that there is this what we called discrimination. Some are looking for applicants that are good looking. HAHAH. how about for those who are not but very good when it comes to contributing ideas that will surely help for their company. Regarding about the age, does the age help contribute the best for their company? For me, it doesn’t matter at all. Tsk. If you are looking for a job that doesn’t required much qualifications then feel free to visit us on: http://www.unemployedpinoys.com , designed for unemployed pinoys who wished to work online without discrimination. Enjoy!

  14. This is making the Philippines a weak country. It’s the dumbest thing I’ve heard of. Extremely unfair. The people of the Philippines have put up with it. They need a revolution. They couldn’t pull such actions off in America. The people would riot and burn buildings in outrage. The people of the Philippines will just sit there and get shitted on by the government.

  15. This is making the Philippines a weak country. It’s the dumbest thing I’ve heard of. Extremely unfair. The people of the Philippines have put up with it. They need a revolution. They couldn’t pull such actions off in America. The people would riot and burn buildings in outrage. The people of the Philippines will just sit there and get shitted on by the government.

  16. I am an OFW in Saudi Arabia. When we go home for our annual vacation, it is customary to get an OEC (overseas employment certificate) along with PhilHealth, OWWA membership, etc. Once I went to Urdaneta in Pangasinan to get my OEC sensing that it would be much easier there. One mature lady in charge of the OEC asked me – ‘Ilang taon ka na ? (How old are you?).’ Thinking that it was irrelevant to my purpose of going there – I asked in reply – ‘Why are you asking?’ Then she repeated, I didn’t answer. Then, she looked at my passport then answered by herself – ‘Ah hindi ka pa naman masyadong matanda, 2 years lang ang gap natin…’ That means, ‘Oh I see, you’re never too old, we have only a 2-year gap…’ LOL, what is this? Is this age-discrimination? For what? I was there just to get my OEC and nothing more… Annoyed, I replied – eh ikaw bakit ka pa nagtratrabaho matanda ka na dapat retired ka na nga eh (Why then, you are still working you should be retired by now considering your age!). She opened her eyes wide-opened gazing at me not expecting that I am that nature ha ha ha.

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