Household workers get full backing of their new law
MANILA, Philippines—Household service workers (HSWs) or house help—or as they are more commonly known today kasambahay—just got a big boost as a legitimate workforce after the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of Republic Act No. 10361, or the Kasambahay Law, were released on Thursday.
Under the IRR, which was signed by government officials led by Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz and issued Thursday, kasambahay have a right to join labor organizations of their choice for purposes of mutual aid and collective negotiations.
“The kasambahay shall be afforded an opportunity to attend organization meetings during their free time,” Baldoz said.
She said the Regional Tripartite Industrial Peace Council shall create a subcommittee to ensure adequate representation of HSWs in social dialogues on issues and concerns peculiar to their work and welfare.
The Kasambahay Law, which aims to protect and promote the rights and welfare of domestic workers, should take effect by the end of the month, or 15 days after its publication in two newspapers of general circulation.
“It is a landmark piece of labor and social legislation that recognizes domestic workers as similar to those in the formal sector. The purpose of the law is not only to protect their rights and provide them with better privileges, but to prepare domestic workers to become more productive citizens,” Baldoz said.
Apart from joining labor groups, HSWs can look forward to pay hikes. They shall also sign contracts with their employers.
“Wage advisories containing a range of increases on top of the minimum wage shall be issued by the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB), taking into consideration the competency standards set by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda),” the IRR says.
Under the law, the minimum monthly wage of a kasambahay is P2,500 in the National Capital Region, P2,000 in chartered cities and first-class municipalities, and P1,500 in other places.
“The National Wages and Productivity Commission and the RTWPB shall coordinate with Tesda to develop a skills and competency-based pay system in line with the thrust to professionalize the kasambahay,” Baldoz said.
The Department of Labor and Employment, to ensure their productivity and quality service, shall facilitate through Tesda the efficient training, assessment and certification of HSWs based on Tesda training regulations.
The IRR provides that after one year from the effectivity of the law and periodically thereafter, the RTWPB shall review and, if proper, determine the monthly minimum wage rates of HSWs.
“The wages of the kasambahay shall be paid in cash,” the IRR says. “No payment by means of promissory notes, vouchers, coupons, tokens, tickets, chits or any objects other than cash shall be allowed.”
Apart from the minimum wage, the law mandates that HSWs are entitled to mandatory benefits such as daily and weekly rest periods, service incentive leaves and 13th month pay.
The worker shall also be covered by the Social Security System, Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) and the Home Development Mutual Fund or Pag-Ibig, and shall be entitled to all their benefits.
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