Majority of our households nowadays have a yaya, kasambahay, house help, etc. These people contribute a lot in our day-to-day work in the household, especially when it comes to taking care of our kids. With extra help in the house, we have more time to prepare the household, be more productive at work, or even have some extra time for ourselves. While we enjoy the perks of having them at home, let us not forget that they have rights, privileges, and needs, too. Below is a summary of some of the pertinent parts of Republic Act No. 10361, an act also known as the Domestic Workers Act or Batas Kasambahay.
- Domestic work: Refers to work performed in or for a household or households
- Household: Refers to the immediate members of the family or the occupants of the house that are directly provided services by the domestic worker
- Domestic worker or “Kasamabahay”: Refers to any person engaged in domestic work within an employment relationship such as, but not limited to, the following: general house help, nursemaid or yaya, cook, gardener, or laundry person, but shall exclude any person who performs domestic work only occasionally or sporadically, and not on an occupational basis.
- Employer: Refers to any person who engages and controls the services of the domestic worker and is party to an employment contract
According to the law, domestic workers should not be subjected to any kind of abuse, any form of physical violence or harassment, or any act that degrade’s a person’s dignity. While this is pretty much straightforward, put simply, we must treat our kasambahays like we would treat any other person. They’re no different from us after all!
Aside from the given standard of treatment, we must also provide our domestic helpers with three adequate meals a day, humane sleeping arrangements, and appropriate rest and assistance in case of illness or injuries sustained during service. This is given in addition to the salary that they already receive.
Domestic workers also have their right to privacy, and we must respect this, whether it comes in the form of communication or personal effects.
During their free time, our kasambahays must be given access to outside communication. In the case of an emergency, they should also be granted access to communication even while they are working. If your helper uses your telephone or other communication facilities, then by law, they must pay the charges incurred while using the device(s). However, you can also choose to waive the charges or let it slide, too.
The Batas Kasambahay also states that the employer should allow the domestic worker the opportunity to finish basic education, and can allow access to alternative learning systems, higher education, or technical and vocational training. If this is the case, you should be able to adjust the work schedule of your kasambahay to allow them to pursue their education and training without hampering the services you need.
Make sure that your helpers know that according to the law, all communication and information related to you and the members of your household is strictly confidential, and should not be publicly disclosed during and after employment.
The government states that we should give our domestic helpers a total of eight hours of rest a day. They don’t necessarily have to be eight straight hours of rest, you can divide the eight hours as you see fit.
The minimum wage of domestic helpers working in the NCR area is ₱3,500 per month. If the domestic helper is working in a chartered city, then the minimum wage is ₱2,500 a month. All domestic workers, regardless of where they work, are also entitled to 13th month pay. (Please note, that the minimum wage is likely to change over the years.)
Domestic workers should be paid in cash at least once a month, and we should pay them directly. No deductions from the wages are allowed (other than those mandated by law) unless there is written consent from the domestic worker.
All domestic workers who have rendered at least one year of service, should be entitled to five days off a year. These days off should be paid, and unused leaves should not be accumulated and used for the next year, nor are they convertible to cash.
In the same way, all domestic workers who have rendered at least one month of service should be covered by the Social Security System (SSS), the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), and the Home Development Mutual Fund (PAG-IBIG). Note that premium contributions should be shouldered by the employer. However, if the domestic worker receives ₱5,000 or above in a month, s/he should also pay the proportionate share in the premium payment as provided by law.
Please remember that all of these rights and privileges for your kasambahays are just the bare minimum. If you choose to provide them with more benefits or other forms of compensation, you are welcome to do so. Just make sure to inform and get consent from your helpers beforehand.
- Philippines. Congress. Republic Act No. 10361. Metro Manila: Congress of the Philippines, 2013.