REPUBLIC Act (RA) 7277, as amended by RA 10524, lays out the fundamental guarantee of rights and privileges of persons with disability (PWDs), with the main intent to foster the PWDs’ capacity to attain a more meaningful, productive and satisfying life and recognizing the role of the private sector, including partnership programs with the government, in promoting the welfare of disabled persons.
Two of these rights and privileges are equal opportunity for employment and ease of access of physical facilities.
Under the law, every PWD shall be given opportunities for suitable employment and every qualified disabled employee shall be subject to the same terms of employment, compensation, privileges and other benefits as a qualified able-bodied individual. In line with this, private entities are encouraged to hire PWDs, particularly private corporations with more than 100 employees to reserve at least one percent of all positions for PWDs, wherein the fitness of a PWD shall be initially determined by the employer on the basis of the qualification standards established for the position and in accordance with labor laws.
Private corporations are encouraged to improve existing facilities used by employees to be easily accessible to PWDs, to modify work schedules as needed, to acquire or modify equipment or devices used by PWDs, to modify examinations, training materials or company policies pertaining to hiring, and to provide auxiliary aids and assistive devices to reasonably accommodate PWDs.
The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has reiterated the incentives under the law that shall be accorded to those who employ PWDs and provide facilities for ease of access thereof through the issuance of Revenue Memorandum Circular 48-2017 last month. These incentives include additional deduction equivalent to 25 percent of the total compensation package paid to PWDs and additional deduction equivalent to 50 percent of the total direct cost of the improvements or modifications made in providing accessibility to PWDs, to the private entity’s gross income.
The following shall be the requirements for entitlement to the incentives:
For employing disabled persons
For improving or modifying physical facilities for reasonable accommodation for disabled employees