The Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) SEnA Team has started to assist household service workers, or kasambahay, and their employers who have employee-employer issues by means of the Single Entry Approach (SEnA) mechanism starting this year, heeding Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz’s encouragement two years ago to all Single Entry Desk Officers, or SEADOs, “not to stop at your accomplishments,”
“That there is now a mechanism to resolve issues of our kasambahay and their employer in a non-litigious, accessible, fast, and inexpensive manner is in fulfillment of the mandate of the Kasambahay Law signed by President Benigno S. Aquino III on 18 January 2013,” the labor and employment chief said.
She cited the report of NCMB Executive Director Reynaldo R. Ubaldo showing that the SEnA, on top of responding to workers’ grievances, has been of assistance to kasambahay in fulfillment of RA 10361 and its implementing rules and regulations.
In his report, Ubaldo said the NCMB’s SEADs in its regional branches in the National Capital Region and four other regions responded to 32 requests for assistance (RFAs) in the first nine months of the year, 29 of which number are from kasambahay in the NCR, and one each from Regions I, IV-A, VII, and X.
According to Ubaldo, the issues responded to by the SEADs, as raised by kasambahay included alleged termination (14 RFAs); non-payment of salary and other benefits (15); medical-financial assistance claims (2); and physical violence (1).
“Of the 32 RFAs received from January to September, 29 were disposed, for an average 90.6 percent disposition rate. Subsequently, 16 of the RFAs were withdrawn,” the NCMB chief said, adding that of the 13 remaining RFAs, 12 were successfully settled for a settlement rate of 90.6 percent.
“The amount of P149,150 in total monetary benefits to 12 kasambahay was facilitated during the period,” Ubaldo said.
Baldoz recalled that Republic Act 10361, otherwise known as the Kasambahay Law or “An Act Instituting Policies for the Protection and Welfare of Domestic Workers,” mandates an effective mechanism to exhaust conciliation-mediation and settle any disputes affecting kasambahay and their employers.
She said that based on the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of R.A. 10361, this mechanism of settlement is the 30-day mandatory conciliation-mediation under the DOLE Single Entry Approach (SEnA) program. The SEnA provides for a speedy, impartial, inexpensive, and accessible mechanism through the use of conciliation-mediation in the settlement of all labor disputes. Baldoz instituted the SEnA by virtue of D.O. 107-10, S. 2010 on 5 October 2010.
Baldoz mandated the establishment of Single Entry Approach Desks (SEADS) in regional branches of the National Conciliation and Mediation Board, among other DOLE offices, to ensure speedy and impartial dispute settlement through the SEnA.
On 24 May this year, she issued Administrative Order No. 207, Series of 2013, calling for the Convergence of DOLE Services in the Implementation of R.A. No. 10361 or Batas Kasambahay. Specifically, A.O. 207 tasked the NCMB, together with the Bureau of Labor Relations and the Human Resource Development Service to “provide and facilitate training to capacitate SEADOs to conciliate complaints filed by kasambahay in regional offices.”
R.A. 10361 mandates the rights of both kasambahay and their employers. For a kasambahay, the law ensures decent and productive work by guaranteeing the minimum wage and other mandatory benefits, such as the daily and weekly rest periods, service incentive leave, and 13th month pay.
“With the SEnA, we can look forward to the provision of appropriate conciliation-mediation services to disadvantaged kasambahay,” said Baldoz, happily noting that the NCMB’s SEnA Team had been chosen recently as the 2013 Presidential Lingkod Bayan Awardee of the Civil Service Commission.