Professional and licensed racehorse jockeys in the country can now retire at the age of 55 and enjoy their mandated retirement benefits.

“Considering the special circumstance and inherent dangers posed by their profession, it is just proper that they are accorded with an opportunity to retire earlier and enjoy the benefits they are entitled to,” said Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III following the issuance of a department order prescribing the rules and regulations on the retirement of racehorse jockeys.

Racehorse jockeys are persons who professionally ride horses during races and licensed by the Philippine Racing Commission (PHILRACOM).

In Department Order No. 169 series of 2017, which prescribes the guidelines and procedures to implement RA No. 10789 or the ‘Racehorse Jockeys Retirement Act,’ a racehorse jockey who has served for at least five years and has paid additional premiums to the Social Security System (SSS) can already retire upon reaching the age of 55.

“If there is no existing plan or agreement providing for retirement benefits, a racehorse jockey shall be compulsorily retired upon reaching the age of 55,” Bello said.

The order likewise sets that the minimum length of service of at least five years required for entitlement pay, to include authorized absences and vacations, holidays, and mandatory fulfillment of military or civic duty.

Bello said that a racehorse jockey may also retire or be retired by his employer upon reaching the retirement age established in Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) or contract.

As such, a racehorse jockey shall likewise be entitled to receive retirement benefits as he or she may have earned under existing laws and any CBA and other agreement provided it is not less than under the rule.

“If such benefits are less, the employer shall pay the difference between the amount due to the employee under this rule and that provided under the CBA or other applicable employment contract,” he added.

The order also mandates that if both employer and the employee contribute to a retirement fund in accordance with a CBA or other applicable employment contract, employer’s total contribution shall not be less than the total retirement benefits as required by law.

The labor chief said that in the absence of an applicable employment contract, a racehorse jockey shall be entitled to retirement pay equivalent to at least one-half month salary for every year of service.

The IRR, Bello said, applies to all professional racehorse jockeys who are duly licensed by the PHILRACOM.

Meanwhile, the order also prescribes that for workers who are paid by results and do not have a fixed monthly rate, the basis of determination of salary for 15 days shall be the average daily salary for the last 12 months divided by the number of actual working days.

The IRR also entitles racehorse jockeys to benefits under the SSS, provided that the individual is an active member of SSS and has complied with the requirements pursuant to Section 12-B of the SS law. All payments made by the SSS are exempt from taxes, fees or charges.

Also exempted from tax is the retirement pay subject to conditions set under the
National Internal Revenue Code of 1997, as amended, and other relevant issuances of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

END/Tim Laderas

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