Gov’t to rescue abused household helpers
MANILA, Philippines—Household service workers (HSWs), better known today as the kasambahay, need not endure sufferings at the hands of abusive employers.
Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz assured these workers that the government will help them find alternative jobs.
“The law mandates that the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) shall develop a standard operating procedure for the rescue and rehabilitation of abused domestic workers, and in coordination with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the possible job placement,” she said in a statement.
Baldoz has instructed DOLE Undersecretary Ciriaco Lagunzad to initiate a consultation meeting with the DILG, the DSWD, the National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine National Police as part of the DOLE’s goal towards a coordinated and responsive effort in providing necessary assistance to abused kasambahay.
The labor official also cited Section 31 of Republic Act No. 10361 or the Domestic Workers Act, which provides that any abused or exploited domestic worker shall be immediately rescued by the municipal or city social welfare officer from the DSWD in coordination with barangay officials.
Baldoz said the implementation of the unified registration system (URS) for the Kasambahay Law has been suspended pending the signing of the memorandum of understanding by the Social Security System (SSS), PhilHealth and the Pag-Ibig fund.
Under the proposed URS, employers will only have to fill out a single form for their HSWs to enroll them in SSS, PhilHealth and the Pag-Ibig fund.
“The Unified registration system of domestic workers or kasambahay has been deferred from July 28, 2013, to a later date pending the signing of the memorandum of understanding by the three agencies,” Baldoz said.
Guide for all
Baldoz said the DILG has issued DILG Memorandum Circular No. 2013-61 or the guidelines for the registration of the kasambahay in all barangay nationwide.
She said the DILG circular will serve as guide for all city and municipal mayors, punong barangay (village captain) and others concerned in establishing the local registry of kasambahay as required by the law.
The Kasambahay Law requires employers to register all kasambahay in the Registry of Domestic Workers in the barangay where the employer resides. The barangay head shall be responsible for the registry of workers within their jurisdiction and submit the list to the local government unit.
Those found violating the new law shall be fined not less than P10,000 but not more than P40,000.
The Kasambahay Law, which took effect in June, aims to ensure better working conditions for the two million household service workers nationwide.
It has set the minimum wage of house helpers employed in Metro Manila at P2,500 a month, those in cities and first-class municipalities at P2,000 and those in other municipalities at P1,500.