Baguio City – Faye considers herself lucky enough if she gets to sleep more than four hours in a day. The 26 year-old mother works as a domestic helper to provide for her family. But even if she loses sleep over work, her family continues to struggle financially because she does not receive payment from her employers on time.
Faye laments “kung kasambahay ka at dumating na yung petsa ng pasahod, sana ibigay na ng amo ko (employer) yung sahod ko pero hindi nila binibigay. Magmamakaawa pa ako sa amo ko na kailangan ko iyong sahod ko kung puwede makuha na dahil kailangan ng pamilya ko sa pang araw araw ng gastusin at sa baon nila sa paaralan nila, at saka lang nila ibibigay”. (If you’re a house helper, your employers should give you your salary on its due date. But my employers don’t give it to me. I have to plead to my employer that I need my salary because my family needs it for their basic needs and for my kids school allowance and that’s the only time they will give it to me.”) Faye represents the thousands of domestic workers (kasambahay) situated similarly in her circumstances.
Faye has been a kasambahay for the family she works for in Baguio City since 2008 when she was 15. The difference is that her current employers are her relatives. She also complained that she pays her Social Security System (SSS) membership voluntarily, instead of her employers doing it for her as mandated by Republic Act 10361 or the Batas Kasambahay (Domestic Workers Act).
DOLE-CAR Regional Director Exequiel Ronie A. Guzman said Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III issued Labor Advisory No. 10 or “Entitlement of Kasambahay to Other Statutory Leave Benefits and Labor Standard Benefits” which will further strengthen the rights of household workers and their entitlement to work benefits and statutory leaves; to answer the clamor of our domestic workers.
RA 10361 or the Kasambahay Law will 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 get to enjoy social benefits such as availing Social Security System (SSS), Philhealth, and Pag-Ibig. The labor advisory identified three other laws that “entitle kasambahays to special leave benefits. Today, they can avail of 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 he/she meets all the conditions for entitlement. Aside from these leaves, kasambahays are still entitled for a five-day service incentive leave that is granted under the Labor Code.
In addition, all domestic workers who have rendered at least 1 month of service shall be covered by SSS, Philhealth and Pagibig Fund and be entitled to all benefits provided by law. For the SSS Kasambahay requirements, for contributions: If the salary or wage under P5,000; the SSS contributions are shouldered solely by the employer and if the salary or wage P5,000 and above then the SSS contributions are proportionately shared by the employer and the domestic worker. For the SSS Benefits of the Kasambahay, as an SSS member, 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 3 months preceding the semester of your sickness; 4) Maternity Benefit, for childbirth and miscarriage and generous benefits Loans – such as salary loans, calamity loan, educational loan and housing loan. A kasambahay may apply for Death and Funeral Benefits and beneficiaries may receive benefits and also dependent’s pension if eligible.
On February 17, DOLE-CAR and its partner agencies RTWPB, DILG, SSS, Philhealth, Pag-Ibig, and TESDA will conduct a Special Day for our Kasambahay in celebration of the “Araw ng Kasambahay” by virtue of RA 10361, a law which provides for the protection and welfare of domestic workers. This special day is set for our kasambahays for us to recognize and be grateful to what our “kasama sa bahay” are doing for us. Our kasambahays and their employers are invited to attend a one-day affair full of fun and meaningful activities intended for their honor and recognition.
Who are considered Kasambahay or House Maid? According to the SSS and the Kasambahay Law, these 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.
RTWPB Board Secretary Ogie Aquillo said that as part of the activities will be a wage consultation forum primarily intended to see if there is a possibility of increasing again the minimum wage rates of our domestic workers and explore the possibility of giving them incentives over and above their salaries. By virtue of Wage Order, CAR-DW-02, which took effect on May 8, 2017, the present minimum wage rates of our kasambahay is P3,000 in our cities and first class municipalities and P2,500 in all other municipalities.
Let us remember that treating kasambahay with dignity is not a privilege they should earn, but a right they deserve. The same sadly reflects a socio-cultural reality where some segments of our society still look down on kasambahay a grade lower than ordinary citizens.
For more information about the Republic Act 10361 or “Batas Kasambahay” or Domestic Workers Act, visit the website of the Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns at www.bwsc.dole.gov.ph or www.dole.gov.ph
END/Patrick T Rillorta