Solon: Mandatory retirement in proposed bill optional for private sector workers

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 12) – The author of the proposed House bill to scrap the mandatory retirement age of 65 clarified the measure is only applicable for workers in the private sector.

Senior Citizens Party-list Rep. Rodolfo Ordanes explained House Bill 3220 seeks to amend the Labor Code, which is the governing law for private sector employees.

Ordanes added that government workers are covered by related civil laws, which are not stated in his proposed measure.

“They are bound to continue their job, provided under contract of service status. They are made consultants if their job is really needed,” Ordanes told CNN Philippines’ The Exchange on Friday.

Civil Service Commission Commissioner Aileen Lizada previously told CNN Philippines' The Source that scrapping the mandatory retirement age in government may affect the fund life of the Government Service Insurance System, which provides retirement benefits to public sector workers.

Ordanes also made it clear that under the proposed bill, working beyond the age of 65 is optional for private sector employees provided the worker satisfies the occupational qualifications of his/her employer.

The lawmaker also assured that scrapping the mandatory retirement age for senior citizens workers will not be a hindrance to the promotion of younger employees, citing a World Bank study that debunks such claim.

“Countries that give jobs to seniors actually create more jobs for everyone else. This is because it stimulates the economy,” Ordanes said. “Senior citizens employment does not substitute, rather compliment youth employment.”

Economist Emmanuel Leyco also supported Ordanes’ remark that giving jobs to senior citizens translates to economic growth, especially in status quo where people need sources of livelihood due to high costs of goods.

“More people who are working and have quality incomes will be beneficial to the economy overall,” Leyco said.

Rene Gener, executive director of the People Management Association of the Philippines (PMAP), said he is in favor of the proposed measure as he appealed for the improvement of retirement and healthcare plans for the elderly.

Gener lamented that there are few retirement and healthcare plans in the market for seniors, and are relatively very expensive. He added that according to business groups' surveys, many retired workers are seeing their health deteriorate due to inactivity,

“It should be the employee who will dictate upon himself when to retire. It should not be mandated,” said Gener.

The PMAP executive director also disproved that senior citizen workers are somewhat liabilities to their younger counterparts.

“They have been tried and tested. They can provide guidance to the next generation. They can also see the risks and benefits of any project that is presented on their table,” Gener added.