By Erma Edera
A labor group warned employers that those who will engage in discriminatory practices to avoid compliance with the Expanded Maternity Leave (EML) Law will face lawsuits.
Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) issued the warning in a statement on Wednesday, following the release of an employers’ group survey by the Employer Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP), which showed that EML would likely affect companies’ decision to hire women.
The preliminary results of the survey, it showed that 68 percent of the 70 companies were concerned with the “higher cost implications” of Republic Act No. 11210.
The survey conducted from March 11 to 15, covered 70 businesses, 51 percent of which were large companies. The final survey will be undertaken by March 30.
Under RA 11210, pregnant working mothers will get 105 days or three months of paid leave, which can be extended to another 30 days without pay.
TUCP President Rep. Raymond Mendoza described the ECOP statement as “anti-women.”
“This is an expression of intent by these employers that they will violate the law. This is tantamount to an admission that employers will now be discriminating against women in their hiring practices,” Mendoza said.
“We remind employers that under Article 135 of the Labor Code, it shall be unlawful for any employer to discriminate against any woman employee with respect to terms and conditions of employment solely on the condition of her sex,” he added.
Under EML, employers, who will be proven to be engaged in discriminatory acts could be sanctioned with a fine of P20,000 to P 200,000, as well as face imprisonment of six years to 12 years.
TUCP also called on the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to “closely monitor” ECOP’s member-firms.
“The DOLE has now been put on notice that there is a strong inclination by many employers to hire males disproportionate to females, solely women are capable of procreation, and that EML is a cost that these employers are unwilling to bear,” Mendoza said.