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Revisiting RA 10361: Domestic Workers Act

Baguio City - Republic Act 10361 or the Kasambahay Law (Domestic Workers Act) will now entitle household workers to 13th month pay, five days annual service incentive leave, and a one whole day uninterrupted weekly rest period.” Household workers will also enjoy social benefits such as Social Security, PhilHealth, and PagIbig.

Labor Sec. Silvestre H. Bello III issued Labor Advisory 10, which entitles domestic workers to Statutory Leave Benefits and Labor Standard Benefits and further strengthen the rights of household workers and their entitlement to benefits and statutory leaves and also to answer the clamor of domestic workers.

The advisory also identified three other laws that entitles kasambahays to special leave benefits including the Solo Parent Leave (Republic Act 8972), Special Leave Benefit for Women under the Magna Carta for Women (Republic Act 9710) and Violence against Women and their Children (VAWC) Leave (Republic Act 9262) provided that all conditions for entitlement are met. Aside from these leaves, kasambahays are still entitled for a five-day service incentive leave that is granted under the Labor Code.

In addition to these benefits, all domestic workers who have rendered at least one month of service shall be covered by SSS, PhilHealth, and Pag-Ibig and be entitled to all benefits provided by law.

For the SSS benefits of the kasambahay, the benefits are: 1. Retirement benefits, if the kasambahay reached 120 months of contributions at 60 or 65 years of age; 2. Disability benefit, in case of disability, if completed at least 36 months of contributions prior to disability; 3. Sickness benefit, in case of illness or injury, you may qualify if you’ve contributed at least three months preceding the semester of your sickness; 4. Maternity benefit, for childbirth and miscarriage and generous benefits loans – such as salary, calamity, educational, and housing loans. A kasambahay may apply for death and funeral benefits.

According to the SSS and RA 10361, kasambahays are persons who perform domestic work (performed in or for household). These persons include: house maid, general house helpers, cook, laundry person, nanny or yaya, gardener, and driver. However, persons who only work occasionally and those under foster care arrangement in exchange of house service are not covered.

Effective May 1, the monthly salary of a kasambahay in the Cordillera is P4,000 for cities and first-class municipalities, while those in other municipalities are entitled to P3,000 minimum wage rate.

The law has raised the level of importance of kasambahays and they enjoy the same rights and privileges afforded to employees in the formal industry sector. Today, kasambahays enjoy 13th month pay and rest day. It is also mandatory for domestic workers to become members of the SSS, PagIBIG, and PhilHealth and therefore entitled to all benefits afforded by these agencies to their members. Likewise, their counterpart contributions or premiums to these agencies shall be shouldered by their employers, except when the domestic helper is receiving not less than P5,000 per month salary that she shall shoulder her proportionate contributions to these agencies.

Other standard rights and privileges enjoyed by the domestic workers under RA 10361 include a rest period of at least eight hours per day; a rest period of 24 consecutive hours per week; wages to be paid in cash at least once a month, right to complain for non-payment or underpayment of wages and other monetary benefits in the nearest DOLE regional or provincial office; the right to terminate their employment relationships prior to expiration of their contracts due to valid causes and the right against withholding of wages or interference on how they dispose their wages.

The employable age of a kasambahay is 15 years old and above. However, the employment of children 15 years but below 18 years of age, the following conditions are established as follows: they shall not be allowed to work for more than eight hours a day, and in no case beyond 40 hours a week; they shall not be allowed to work between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. of the following day; they shall not be allowed to do hazardous work; and they shall not be denied access to education and training.

Finally, domestic workers enjoy other rights like just and humane treatment; provision of board, lodging and appropriate medical attendance; access to communication facilities; access to education and training; right to privacy and right to be provided a certificate of employment.

The roles our house helpers play in our lives may be vital and essential, but we often take them for granted. More than just people who do the chores, house helpers allow us to become productive in our careers. By taking over household duties, they free us to work in offices, take up hobbies, or travel. Living with them in close proximity, sharing our troubles and joys, they may even be considered part of the family.

For more information on the Domestic Workers Act, visit us @ www.dole.gov.ph or www.bwsc.dole.gov.ph

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2019-12-23
Dir.Exequiel Guzman
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