Caregivers urged to unionize as law on their welfare enacted

Caregivers urged to unionize as law on their welfare enacted

/ 04:45 AM December 04, 2023

asian woman caregiver stock photo

MANILA, Philippines — Hailing the recent enactment of the Caregiver Welfare Act, an organization of healthcare workers has urged caregivers to unionize and join its ranks.

“This legislation is expected to have a profound impact on the healthcare sector, offering better working conditions and security for thousands of caregivers across the nation,” said Philippine Association of Healthcare Practitioners (PAHCP) president Lorena Escaño.


“By formalizing what was once an informal [work] arrangement, we not only secure social protection for our caregivers but also recognize their indispensable role in health care,” she added.


The Federation of Free Workers (FFW), an umbrella organization of labor groups and unions including the PAHCP, called the signing of the Caregiver Welfare Act a “significant advancement in labor rights and social justice.”

“This act not only provides much-needed legal protection to our caregivers but also uplifts their dignity and acknowledges their invaluable contribution to our society,” FFW president Sonny Matula said.

“Caregivers are welcome to join FFW if they will form a workers association for mutual help and protection,” he added.

Protection vs abuse

Malacañang announced on Friday that President Marcos on Nov. 23 signed into law Republic Act No. 11965, or the Act Institutionalizing Policies for the Protection and Welfare of Caregivers in the Practice of their Occupation.

The President “recognized the need to protect the rights of caregivers towards decent employment and income and… protect them against abuse, harassment, violence, and economic exploitation,” the Palace said in a statement.

The Caregiver Welfare Act will take effect 15 days after publication while the Department of Labor and Employment was tasked to lead the crafting of the law’s implementing rules and regulations.


The key points of the new law for caregivers, according to FFW, are employment status recognition; regulated working hours and overtime; minimum wage and night shift differential pay; comprehensive coverage; and additional benefits.

The new law redefined domestic caregivers’ employment status from “somewhat independent contractors” to employees with full coverage under labor standards law, FFW noted.

Working hours for domestic caregivers will now be based on employment contracts, which include entitlement to overtime pay for services rendered beyond eight hours a day.

Guaranteed pay, benefits

Caregivers are also guaranteed a minimum wage of not less than the applicable regional minimum wage and a night shift differential pay rate.

Caregivers employed in private homes, nursing or care facilities, and other residential settings, whether hired directly, through public employment services offices or private employment agencies, are covered by the law.

Under the new law, caregivers with at least one month of service are entitled to a 13th month pay by Dec. 24 each year or upon employment separation.

Caregivers with a minimum of one year of service should receive at least five days of paid leave under the law.

Caregivers are also entitled to benefits from contributions to the Social Security System, Philippine Health Insurance Corp., and Pag-Ibig Fund and “all benefits in accordance with the pertinent provisions provided by law.”

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The law provides that a caregiver may terminate a contract at any time before its expiration due to verbal or emotional abuse, inhumane treatment, and physical abuse.

TAGS: caregivers, healthcare workers

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