Extra Rights of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs)
EQUAL OPPORTUNITY FOR PWDs
Under the law,3 PWDs are entitled to equal opportunity for employment. Consequently, no PWD shall be denied access to opportunities for suitable employment. A qualified employee with disability shall be subject to the same terms and conditions of employment and the same compensation, privileges, benefits, fringe benefits, incentives or allowances as a qualified able-bodied person.
Five percent (5%) of all casual emergency and contractual positions in the Departments of Social Welfare and Development, Health, Education and other government agencies, offices or corporations engaged in social development shall be reserved for PWDs.
SHELTERED EMPLOYMENT FOR PWDs
“Sheltered Employment” refers to the provision of productive work for PWDs through workshops providing special facilities, income-producing projects or homework schemes with a view to giving them the opportunity to earn a living thus enabling them to acquire a working capacity required in open industry.
If suitable employment for PWDs cannot be found through open employment, the State shall endeavor to provide it by means of sheltered employment. In the placement of PWDs in sheltered employment, it shall accord due regard to the individual qualities, vocational goals and inclinations to ensure a good working atmosphere and efficient production.
Consistent with the principle of equal opportunity for workers with disability and workers in general, the State shall take appropriate vocational rehabilitation measures that shall serve to develop the skills and potentials of PWDs and enable them to compete favorably for available productive and remunerative employment opportunities in the labor market.
The State shall also take measures to ensure the provision of vocational rehabilitation and livelihood services for PWDs in the rural areas. In addition, it shall promote cooperation and coordination between the government and non-governmental organizations and other private entities engaged in vocational rehabilitation activities.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) shall design and implement training programs that will provide PWDs with vocational skills to enable them to engage in livelihood activities or obtain gainful employment. The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) shall likewise design and conduct training programs geared towards providing PWDs with skills for livelihood.
VOCATIONAL GUIDANCE AND COUNSELLING
The DSWD shall implement measures providing and evaluating vocational guidance and counselling to enable PWDs to secure, retain and advance in employment. It shall ensure the availability and training of counsellors and other suitably qualified staff responsible for the vocational guidance and counselling of PWDs.
PWDS, ELIGIBLE TO APPRENTICESHIP AND LEARNERSHIP
Under R.A. No. 7277, it is provided that subject to the provisions of the Labor Code, as amended, PWDs shall be eligible as apprentices or learners; provided that their handicap is not as much as to effectively impede the performance of job operations in the particular occupation for which they are hired and provided further that after the lapse of the period of apprenticeship, if found satisfactory in the job performance, they shall be eligible for employment.
Under Article 80 of the Labor Code, handicapped workers are entitled to not less than seventy-five percent (75%) of the applicable adjusted minimum wage. In view, however, of R.A. No. 7277,10 the wage rate of PWDs is 100% of the applicable minimum wage.
Wage orders issued by the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards (RTWPBs) normally reflect this principle. To cite an example, Section 7 of Wage Order No. NCR-18 [effective October 4, 2013] issued by RTWPB-National Capital Region states:
“All qualified handicapped workers shall receive the full amount of the minimum wage rate prescribed herein pursuant to Republic Act No. 7277, otherwise known as the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons. ”
Moreover, in case of legally-mandated wage increases enunciated in wage orders issued by the RTWPBs, the employment agreements with persons with disability are deemed automatically modified insofar as their wage clauses are concerned to reflect the said increases.
WAGE RATE AS APPRENTICE OR LEARNER
A PWD hired as an apprentice or learner shall be paid not less than seventy-five percent (75%) of the applicable minimum wage.
If the PWD, however, is hired as a learner and employed in piece or incentive-rate jobs during the training period, he shall be paid one hundred percent (100%) of the applicable minimum wage.