Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis- Baldoz yesterday said that one of the biggest accomplishments of the administration of Pres. Benigno S. Aquino III was providing kasambahay with welfare and social protection based on decent work framework.
“This administration is the first to put the welfare and social protection of kasambahay. Before the administration of Pres. Benigno S. Aquino III, domestic workers were considered lowest paid and few employers comply with the law requiring domestic helpers to be registered for social security benefits,” said Baldoz.
Based on 2010 data of the Philippine Statistics Authority, there were about 1.9 million domestic workers or kasambahay in the country. Of these, 600,000 kasambahay were 16-24 years old; 200,000 are at age 15-17 years old; and 87,000 kasambahay were staying in the household of their employers.
“The administration of Pres. Aquino paid close attention to our local domestic workers or kasambahay because are considered vulnerable workers,” said Baldoz.
To promote welfare and social protection of kasambahay, the Philippines ratified ILO Convention 189, or the Domestic Workers Convention 2011 (No. 189) on 5 September 2012. The Philippines became the 2nd country to ratify ILO Convention 189 allowing this landmark international instrument to come into force.
ILO Convention 189 contains principles promoting the rights and protection of domestic workers based on the decent work framework. The Philippine ratification of the Convention was the precursor of Republic Act No.10361, or An Act Instituting Policies for the Protection and Welfare of Domestic Workers, Otherwise known as the Domestic Workers Act, or Batas Kasambahay, which seeks to change the conditions of the domestic workers by institutionalizing their rights similar to the rights of workers in formal sector.
Specifically, it sets the standards for the terms and conditions of work, including the execution of a written employment contract between the employer and the kasambahay. It provides minimum wage, health and safety standards, compulsory coverage to social protection such as SSS, Pag-IBIG and PhilHealth, adopts the standards for employment of working children and protects them from unjust termination of employment.
Secretary Baldoz also issued on 20 November 2014 the Revised Rules and Regulations Governing Recruitment and Placement for Local Employment which incorporates pertinent provisions of R.A. 10361.
To standardize the wage of kasambahay, the National Wages and Productivity Commission, an attached agency of the DOLE, has issued the Rules of Procedure on Minimum Wage Fixing for Domestic Workers (Kasambahay), as well as the Advisory on Competency-Based Pay for Kasambahay.
The DOLE’s Occupational Safety and Health Center (OSHC) has also issued the Occupational Safety and Health Protection Tips for Kasambahay and Employers (OSH Tips) and continually disseminates these OSH Protection Tips though orientations and printed information and education materials.
On its part, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), another attached agency of the DOLE, has approved Board Resolution No. 15-2012 which amended the training regulations for Household Service Services NC II.
The Kasambahay Unified Registration System (URS) became operational on 3 December 2013. The URS simplified the registration to the Social Security System (SSS), PhilHealth and Pag-IBIG.
More than 120,000 kasambahay were already registered with the SSS as of December 2014. A total of 24,671 kasambahay were registered with the Pag-Ibig Fund; while 59,734 kasambahay were registered with the PhilHealth.
To protect our household service workers overseas, the Philippine government has forged bilateral and multilateral agreements and other protective instruments with other countries to ensure their protection.
“The administration of Pres. Aquino III has intensified its cooperation program with receiving countries employing large number of Filipino domestic workers by forging bilateral labor agreement with them on Standard Employment Contract which aims to advance the welfare and ensure protection of Filipino domestic workers,” said Baldoz who, on 19 May 2013, signed a bilateral agreement with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on the employment of household service workers, the first such agreement with a labor receiving country. She has also signed similar bilateral agreements with Jordan and Lebanon in 2012.
From 15-16 October 2012, the Philippines also hosted the Global Forum on Migration and Development preparatory workshop on Domestic Care Workers. The two day workshop discussed paramount issues on the protection of migrant domestic care workers’ rights and their role as development actors. From the discussion, the workshop has come-up with a list of recommendations on sustainable follow-up actions to reinforce the link between protection and development.
“We have come a long way in the promotion of the welfare and social protection of domestic workers and we will continue to do so. Much work is still needed, but we will not flag,” Baldoz said.
On the first semester of 2015, through the Single Entry Approach (SEnA) conciliation-mediation mechanism, the DOLE facilitated a total of P2,565,317.00 monetary benefits to 173 kasambahay who have requested assistance from the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB) and DOLE Regional Offices.