The Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) on Monday told employers not to discriminate against older job seekers, as the law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of age was now in effect.
Johnson Cañete, director of the Dole office in the National Capital Region, stressed the need to educate and make employers aware of Republic Act No. 10911, which was passed last year.
“The law is very new so it’s normal that not all may have been oriented. But we all know very well that there’s already a law,” Cañete told reporters.
RA 10911 or the Anti-Age Discrimination in Employment Law prohibits employers from prescribing age for job applicants.
Cañete made the rounds of the nine job fairs conducted in Metro Manila on Monday, Labor Day.
The fairs were among 54 organized by the Dole, offering more than 200,000 jobs.
Among those who tried his luck at the job fair at Quezon City Hall was Benito Parman, a 60-year-old former migrant worker.
“I stayed at home for four years, cooking and selling [food]. Now I want to try working again so I can earn a little money to pay electricity bills,” Parman said.
Encouraged by the passage of RA 10911, Parman took a call center course sponsored by Mayor Herbert Bautista for Quezon City residents.
On Monday, he submitted applications to four companies that participated in the Quezon City job fair.
He said none of the four companies hired him on the spot, but all told him they would call him.
Parman knew it was because of his age, and he lamented that employers remained biased against elderly job seekers despite the new employment age law.
He said, however, that he was not losing hope. “I’m praying to the Lord that I will be hired and I’ll have work again,” he said.
Monday’s job fairs were the first to be conducted since the passage of the age law.
The Dole issued the implementation rules for the new law in February.
At the job fair at Quezon City Hall, a handful of senior citizens other than Parman were observed visiting employers’ booths and inquiring about vacancies.
Cañete said one of the Dole’s programs was to mandate all regional offices to conduct job clinics among local governments and employers.
Among the issues discussed during the clinics, he said, are general labor standards, occupational safety, health and age discrimination in the workplace.
“We are imposing the law already. So the important thing is that the people who are affected can go to the Dole and inform us of these employers,” Cañete said, referring to the employment age law.
“It is now easier for us not to tell them that we now have this law that you cannot discriminate against people based on age,” he said.
Cañete said companies that would violate the employment age law faced sanctions, although they would be given an orientation on its enforcement.
More than 30,000 job seekers went to the 54 job fairs held on Labor Day.
Data from the Dole showed that 34,605 job seekers—17,752 of whom were women—registered for the fairs.
Fifty-one percent, or 17,783 of the applicants, were deemed qualified.
But only 1,658 were hired on the spot while 9,896 were near-hire applicants or those who were told they would be called.
This means that of the 17,783 qualified job applicants, only 9 percent, or 1,658, were hired on the spot.
Most of the job applicants (16,764) were looking for employment in the Philippines, while 4,331 were looking for overseas jobs.
Among the regions, Central Luzon had the highest number of job applicants, at 5,683, followed by Metro Manila, with 4,505.
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