CA upholds PAL policy on flight attendants’ retirement age
Invoking “biological differences,” the Court of Appeals (CA) has upheld the policy of Philippine Airlines (PAL) of having different compulsory retirement ages for its male and female flight attendants.
In a decision dated May 31 but released to the media only recently, the court’s 7th Division rejected the claim of discrimination by the PAL flight attendants union, which cited how male members are retired at age 60, while their female counterparts are retired earlier at age 55.
The appellate court overruled the Makati Regional Trial Court, which nullified in 2015 the retirement age provision in the 2000 to 2005 collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between PAL and the Flight Attendants and Stewards Association of the Philippines (Fasap).
Although the Makati court agreed with Fasap’s female members that the two sets of retirement age was discriminatory in terms of gender and equal work opportunities, the appellate court said “biological differences” between males and females could affect their work performance.
Core of the job
“Passenger safety goes to the core of the job of a cabin attendant,” the Court of Appeals said in its 20-page decision.
“Airlines need cabin attendants who have the … strength to open emergency doors, the agility to attend to passengers in cramped working conditions, and the stamina to withstand grueling flight schedules,” it added.
The court also noted PAL’s decades-long practice of setting different retirement ages for its flight attendants, and said that Fasap had “voluntarily” agreed to the policy when it signed the CBA with management.
Their earlier retirement should not make female flight attendants feel disadvantaged, the court said, adding that “(this) can potentially improve their physical and mental health, that in turn can help them live a longer and happier life.”
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.