They take care of our children, cook our meals, wash and iron our clothes, clean our house, tend our garden, take care of our pets, watch over our house when we are out of town, and generally, they make our lives easier. They are called kasambahays.
Kasambahay is the Filipino term for “household helpers” or “maids.” The word is a short-cut of the Tagalog phrase “kasama sa bahay”, meaning “a member of the household.” Some households even have nannies which is locally called a yaya.
The kasambahays are the general household helpers like the yaya, cook, gardener, laundry person, or any person who regularly performs domestic work whether on a live-in or live-out arrangement. This does not include the service providers, family drivers, children under the foster family arrangement, and those who work occasionally or sporadically within the household. It is generally prohibited to employ persons below 15 years of age as kasambahays.
These people are indeed an important member of the household because without them, we are tied up doing tedious house chores or child care rather than having the freedom to work full-time or to simply enjoy life.
With so much reports about abuse and lack of dignity for these workers, the Philippine Congress released the Republic Act No. 10361, the Kasambahay Law, Domestic Workers Act or “Batas Kasambahay.” It contains policies that protect the rights of domestic workers like household helpers, nannies, people doing laundry, cooks, etc. The law aims also to make sure that the needs and safety of the kasambahays are given. The law also covers the area about providing safe and healthful working conditions for them. The law was signed by President Benigno Aquino III on 18 January 2013. The Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) were approved on 25 April 2013. The law took effect last 4 June 2013.
Last 9th of May 2013, at the “Bulwagan ng Karunungan” of the Department of Education Central Office in Pasig City, various government agencies signed the IRR of the “Kasambahay Law.” The following were agencies that signed the IRR:
Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)
Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)
Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG)
Philippine National Police (PNP)
Social Security System (SSS)
Department of Health (DOH)
Here are more important details about the Domestic Workers Act or “Batas Kasambahay:”
Republic Act No. 10361 that was signed in to a Law on 18 January 2013.
Terms and definitions:
Domestic work - work performed in or for a household
Domestic worker or “kasambahay” - general house helper, nanny or “yaya”, cook, gardener, laundry person
- Those who perform domestic work occasionally
- Children under the foster arrangement who are given access to education, allowance, etc.
- Medical or health certificate
- Barangay and police clearance
- NBI clearance
- Birth certificate
Metro Manila = P2,500/month
Chartered cities and first class municipalities = P2,000/month
Other municipalities = P1,500/month
13th month pay
This is to be paid on time and in cash, and not by other means. It must be given directly to the kasambahays.
To uphold the rights of a domestic worker
- Three (3) meals a day
- Safe and humane sleeping arrangement
- Medical assistance
- Access to outside communication
- Access to education or training
Protects domestic worker from:
- Economic exploitation
- Physically and mentally hazardous work
Rest period and paid leaves:
- 8 hours a day rest period
- 1 full day off a week
- 5 days paid leaves for 1 year of service
It must define these terms and conditions:
- Duties and responsibilities
- Period of employment
- Authorised deductions
- Hours of work and additional payment for extended hours
- Rest days and leaves
- Board, lodging and medical attention
- Agreements on deployment expenses
- Loan agreement
- Termination of employment
- Other lawful conditions agreed upon by the employer and the domestic worker
- The employer shall at all times provide the domestic worker with a copy of the pay slip containing the amount paid in cast every pay day and indicating all deductions if any.
- Copies of the pay slip shall be kept by the employer for a period of three years.
The domestic worker can terminate the employment relationship for the following reasons:
- Verbal and emotional abuse
- Inhuman treatment or physical abuse
- Crime against the domestic worker
- Violations of the contract’s terms by the employer
- Disease or health reasons
The employer can terminate the employment relationship for the following reasons:
- Misconduct or willful disobedience
- Neglect or inefficiency
- Fraud or breach of trust
- Crime against the employer or member of the house household
- Violations of the contract’s terms by the domestic worker
- Disease or health reasons
Punishment for Violation
- Fine of P 10,000 to P40,000 without prejudice to the filing of civil or criminal case by the aggrieved party.
For more information on Guide to SSS Registration and Payment for Household Employer and Domestic Worker (Kasambahay), here is a link for a slide presentation of details: http://www.slideshare.net/ssswebmaster/sss-kasambahay-guide
Although they serve us, we should remember that they are not our servants. They are employees who accepted the humble job of being a helper. Like any employee, they deserve respect and dignity at work through fair wage and benefits as dictated by the law.
Author: Marcelle Villegas
Lady maid cartoon – http://www.vectors4all.net/free-vectors-download/maid
Green banner for the RA#10361 – http://philnews.ph/2013/05/02/batas-kasambahay-ra-10361-released-may-10/
Information about “Kasambahay Law” from http://opinion.inquirer.net/48459/talk-of-the-town
and Dakila at https://www.facebook.com/dakila.philippines