Baguio food firms employing senior citizens, PWDs to be given incentives

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The City Council, during last Monday’s regular session, approved on first reading a proposed ordinance providing incentives to fast food corporations and restaurants in the city that employ qualified senior citizens and differently abled persons.

Under the proposed ordinance, the persons that are to be considered for the short-term employment shall include senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWDs).

The ordinance stated that fast food corporations and restaurants that employ senior citizens and PWDs who meet the required skills or qualifications shall be allowed as deduction from its gross sales or receipt, equivalent to 50 percent of the total amount paid as salaries and wages for personal services actually rendered by the qualified beneficiaries.

Further, fast food corporations and restaurants must have employed the beneficiaries for at least 6 months before being qualified to be granted the aforesaid incentive offered by the local government.

The ordinance stipulated that the fast food corporation or restaurant must employ at least 1 PWD or at least 1 senior citizen with a salary of at least the prevailing minimum wage provided by the labor department and with a minimum of 4 hours’ work for at least 4 working days each working week, provided that, their employment will not be covered by the provisions and benefits provided in existing laws, rules and regulations.

According to the ordinance, the employee should not be a relative with the third degree of consanguinity of the business owner or manager of the fast food corporation or restaurant.

Any employer who will be found guilty of fraudulently employing the beneficiaries and removes the latter without just cause after receiving the incentives shall suffer a penalty of not more than P3,000 or the revocation of its business permit in case of subsequent violation.

The ordinance tasked the Office of the Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA) and the Persons with Disability Affairs Office (PDAO) to implement the pertinent provisions of the proposed measure.

Moreover, for the protection of the rights of the senior citizens and PWDs, the ordinance mandated the aforesaid offices shall conduct periodic monitoring and inspection as to the work condition of their members in the business entity to determine that their rights under labor laws, rules and regulations as well as pertinent local measures for their well-being are not violated.

In case of breach of the rights of the senior citizens and PWDs, the OSCA and the PDAO shall assist their members in filing the necessary actions in availing of the proper remedy to address the same.

The ordinance added that within 60 days from the effectivity of the measure, the City Treasury Office shall issue the implementing rules and regulations to efficiently carry out the tax deduction that will be provided by the local government to the qualified fast food corporations and restaurants who availed of the said program.

The ordinance noted that the fast food corporations and restaurants around the city are among the feasible and ideal establishments that can accommodate the senior citizens and PWDs considering the hourly rate and their accessibility for them to be able to continue to work for a living for their families.  By Dexter A. See