July 18, 2024

The city council has approved on third and final reading an ordinance providing incentives to all business establishments in the city who employ qualified senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWDs).

The recently approved ordinance was penned by Councilors Elaine Sembrano, Lilia Fariñas, Betty Lourdes Tabanda, and Levy Lloyd Orcales and Vice Mayor Faustino Olowan.

The incentive shall be in the form of a deduction from the establishment’s gross sales receipt which is equivalent to 50 percent of the total amount paid as salaries and wages for personal services actually rendered by the senior citizens/PWDs; or whatever percentage of tax deduction that may be recommended by the Local Finance Committee which is most beneficial, feasible, or acceptable according to existing tax and budget laws, rules, and regulations.

Sembrano, principal author, said the ordinance intends to encourage employment of senior citizens and PWDs who are still able, capable, and willing to work by providing tax incentives to employers who will hire them. 

To be qualified for the grant of incentives, the business establishment must have at least one senior citizen worker or one PWD worker employed for at least a period of six months; has a salary of at least the amount of the minimum wage provided in the Labor Code; and works for at least four hours for at least four working days in each working week; provided that their employment is not covered by the provisions and benefits provided in the Labor Code; provided further that the employee should not be a relative within the third consanguinity of the business owner/manager of the fast food or restaurant.

Relatives within the third consanguinity include one’s mother, father, grandfather, great grandfather, great grandmother, sister, daughter, son, granddaughter, grandson, great granddaughter, great grandson, aunt, uncle, or nephew.

The business establishment may enter into a memorandum of agreement with the city government, provided the same prepares the necessary documents for review and approval of the city council and the city mayor.

The measure stated any employer found guilty of fraudulently employing a senior citizen/PWD and removing the same without just cause after receiving the incentive shall be fined P1,000 for the first offense; P2,000 for the second offense; and P3,000 for the third offense and shall have their business permit revoked in case of a subsequent violation. 

The Office of the Senior Citizen Affairs, the Persons with Disability Affairs Office, the Permits and Licensing Division, the Department of Labor and Employment, and the City Health Services Office will be tasked to conduct monitoring and inspection to ensure the ordinance is enforced properly; and to determine that their rights under labor laws, as well as pertinent laws, ordinances, and rules and regulations for the well-being of the senior citizens and PWDs are not violated. In case of breach of their rights, they shall assist the individual in filing the necessary action.

A waiver shall be executed between the senior citizen or the PWD who will be employed by the business establishment, with the former’s spouse, legal representatives, heirs and assigns, as witnesses, declaring they assume full responsibility for the risk of injury, death or property damage or otherwise while being employed by the business establishment.

Within 60 days from the effectivity of the ordinance, the City Treasury Office shall craft the implementing rules and regulations to efficiently implement the tax deduction, which shall serve as the incentive of the qualified establishments. 

The ordinance has been transmitted to the City Mayor’s Office. – Jordan G. Habbiling