Prohibitions on women working at night has been removed, approved at the Senate

MANILA, Philippines - A bill seeking to amend the Labor Code to remove prohibitions on women working at night has been approved at the Senate. Senate Bill 2701 aims to repeal Articles 130 and 131 of the Labor Code. Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Estrada, the bill's principal author and sponsor, accepted the arguments of Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago and amended the committee report to recommend the removal of all night work prohibitions on women. "Initially, we wanted to expand the exceptions prescribed by our Labor Code on women workers on night work since it is our aim to level the employment field for men and women while maintaining protection for women workers," he said. "But after hearing the invaluable inputs of Sen. Miriam Defensor- Santiago, we decided to go all out in dismantling the discriminatory provisions in our Labor Code against our women workers." Estrada said these stipulations prove oppressive when looking at the call center industry, which operates 24 hours a day. "Before women workers can actually work, they have to suffer a burdensome process of securing paper work and permits," he said. In her comments to the original bill, Santiago said one of the most blatant examples of protective but discriminatory laws was the prohibition of night work for women.  "Today, in the age of gender equality and gender balance, night work prohibition for women is an obsolete concept. This concept, being useless and discriminatory to women, should be completely abolished," she said. Santiago said the bill is obsolete because it reinforces the provisions of International Labor Organization Convention No. 89 of 1934 or the Women Night Work Convention, which paved the way for the prohibition of night work for women in the Labor Code. The supposed harmful effects of night work on women have been largely exaggerated, she added. Santiago said under the law, women's access to specific jobs, certain occupations, higher wages and premium payments was restricted. "The prohibitions therefore contravene the principle of equality as they prevent women from exercising their right to equal access to jobs," she said. Article 130 of the Labor Code prohibits night-time work (generally between midnight and 6 a.m.) for women in industrial, commercial and non-industrial undertakings (other than agricultural). 


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