THE Baguio City Council has approved on first reading an ordinance that would incentivize businesses in the city to employ persons with disabilities (PWDs) and the elderly.
The ordinance specifically encourages fast-food establishments and other restaurants in the city to employ PWDs and senior citizens who have the appropriate skills.
Under the ordinance, said establishments who hire PWDs and seniors that qualify for the program, will be allowed to file deductions on their taxes equivalent to 50 percent of the wages and salaries paid to senior citizens and PWDs.
However, to qualify, the establishment in question must have employed at least one PWD and/or one senior citizen for at least six months, who must have at least a four- hour per day workday and a four- day per week workweek, and must be receiving at least minimum wage.
The ordinance will also not accept establishments as qualified if the elderly or differently-abled employee is a relative with the third degree of consanguinity of the business owner or manager of the establishment.
Establishments that qualify and then subsequently without just cause fraudulently remove their PWD or senior employee may be subject to P3,000 in fines initially, with revocation of the establishment’s business permit.
Enforcement of the ordinance is under the responsibility of the Office of the Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA) and the Persons with Disability Affairs Office (PDAO) with regards to implementing the measure’s salient provisions.
The ordinance adds that within 60 days of the measure taking effect, the City Treasury Office must issue the implementing rules and regulations governing the tax deduction granted to qualified establishments.