Looking back at the Domestic Workers Act

On January 18, 2013, former President Benigno Simeon Aquino signed into law Republic Act No. 10361 known as Domestic Workers Act, instituting policies for the protection and welfare of domestic workers. This law covers the entire process of hiring a househelp including benefits during employment.
Although we already have modern amenities which make our house chores easier, some of us, particularly young parents, need someone to care for the kids who are left at home. It has become difficult to look for this special person since there are more opportunities for them other than working in other people’s homes.
Before, families needing househelp ask relatives and friends for referrals, especially those coming from the provinces who would want to work in urban centers and pursue higher education on the side. Some domestic workers fall prey to abusive employers and work their fingers to the bone for measly salaries. Some homeowners also complain that househelps take advantage of their kindness at home.
For many households, the househelp is seen as part of the family and are treated with respect and kindness.
The Kasambahay Law therefore manages the expectations of both househelp and employer. It lists down mandatory benefits for the househelp including monthly minimum wage (P2,500 for Metro Manila, P2,000 for cities and 1st class municipalities and P1,500 for other municipalities); daily rest period of 8 total hours, weekly rest period of 24 uninterrupted hours, five days annual service incentive leave with pay, 13th month pay, SSS, PhilHealth and Pag-Ibig benefits.
Aside from these mandatory benefits, employers must also provide three adequate meals a day—taking into consideration the kasambahay’s religious beliefs and cultural practices—humane sleeping conditions and appropriate rest and basic medical assistance. Toiletries are optional and employers can provide them gratuitously. Basic medical assistance refers to first-aid medicines. The SSS/PhilHealth will address the medical expenses of other illnesses.
According to the Department of Labor and Employment, “it also affirms the need to protect the rights of domestic workers against abuse, harassment, violence, economic exploitation and performance of work that is hazardous to their physical and mental health and promote their rights at work including, but not limited to, abolition of child labor, elimination of all forms of forced labor, discrimination in employment and occupation, and trafficking in persons, especially women and children.”
We hope this law has been seriously implemented to benefit both parties.

Posted in Opinion, Uncategorized