Mandatory retirement age for female flight attendants is 60 since 2011–PAL


ALL cabin crewmembers of pioneering legacy carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) are allowed to serve until the mandatory retirement age of 60 years old, regardless of gender.

This was the statement of the carrier after the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional PAL’s 2004-2005 collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with the Flight Attendants and Stewards Association of the Philippines (FASAP) setting the retirement age of female flight attendants at 55, five years earlier than their male counterparts. The decision was hailed by many as a victory for the female workforce in the country, as the decision was issued on March 9, a day after International Women’s Day.

Said CBA, however, had already been superseded by a CBA signed between PAL and FASAP “on June 1, 2022 [which] sets the retirement age at 60 for all cabin crew members, affirming the principle of parity for PAL crew, regardless of gender,” said the carrier in a news statement.

The airline added: “The new CBA embodies PAL’s commitment to be an equal opportunity company where management and crew members work together in the spirit of productive collaboration. Following PAL’s successful restructuring process in 2021, the CBA was the product of a joint effort by management and employees to promote harmony and teamwork for the benefit of the airline’s professional crew members and the flying public they serve with dedication.”

PAL also said, even before the CBA in 2022 was forged, the mandatory age for retirement for crewmembers was already 60, “in compliance with a DOLE (Department of Labor and Employment) decision issued in April 2011.”

The carrier said it has yet to receive a copy of the reported Supreme Court decision that was issued on January 10, 2023, but only made public on Thursday.

In a statement, the SC decision specifically voided Section 144(A) of the 2004-2005 CBA, deeming it discriminatory to women as well as contrary to laws, international convention, and public policy.

Senior Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, who penned the ruling, said, “There is insufficient proof to support the conclusion that female cabin attendants between 55 to 59 years old did not have the necessary strength to open emergency doors, the agility to attend to passengers in cramped working conditions, and the stamina to withstand grueling flight schedules unlike their male counterparts.” (See, “Compulsory retirement age for PAL female FAs unconstitutional—SC,” in the BusinessMirror, March 9, 2023.)

The SC ruling reversed the decision of the Court of Appeals in July 2018, which upheld the CBA 2004-2005, which said it was safer for PAL’s passengers that female FAs were retired at 55 due their lack of physical strength, unlike their male counterparts. Dissatisfied with the CA decision, FASAP elevated the case before the Supreme Court in 2019.