t’s been a few months since the Kasambahay Law was enacted but many employers are still in the dark about their responsibilities to their domestic workers. SoMoms blogger Jenny Ong shares 8 important points to get you in the know.
The Kasambahay Law or Batas Kasambahay covers general household helpers including yayas, cooks, gardeners, laundry persons and helpers hired on a live-out arrangement. Those who aren’t covered are family drivers and individuals who perform occasional and sporadic work and not on an occupational and regular basis (e.g. person who vacuums your bed, landscaping guy, etc.). Also not covered are helpers who are below 15 years old because by law, you shouldn’t hire helpers below that age.
As employer, you are responsible for the costs of hiring and transportation of the kasambahay from his place of origin to her place of work. You can also ask for pre-employment requirements such as medical certificate, barangay and police clearance, NBI clearance, and birth certificate, baptismal record, passport or voter’s identification card. However, the employer is responsible for these costs. Transportation expenses are reimbursable if the kasambahay leaves without justifiable reason within six months from employment.
Once the kasambahay has rendered service for one month, she is eligible for 13th month pay, SSS, PhilHealth and Pag-Ibig benefits. And you must be registered as an “employer” in all these three agencies.
There is no one-stop shop for the registration of the requirements for the kasambahay. Under the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Kasambahay Bill, SSS, Pag-Ibig and PhilHealth have a period of six months from IRR promulgation to set up a unified system of registration and enrollment. The IRR was promulgated on May 9, 2013. This means that by November 2013, we should have a one-stop shop to register for these agencies. In the meantime, it is the employer’s responsibility that contributions to these agencies are properly made.
You should have a contract with your kasambahay written in a language or dialect they can understand. It should specify their duties and responsibilities, period of employment, salary or compensation, authorized deductions, hours of work and proportionate additional payment, rest days, allowable leaves, board, lodging and medical attention, agreements on deployment expenses, loan agreement, termination of employment and other conditions that the parties may lawfully agree upon. The contract need not be notarized.
You can download the standard employment contract (BK-1) from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) website.
The employer is also required to register the kasambahay in the Registry of Domestic Workers in the barangay where the employer resides. You also have to issue a pay slip (copies of which you must keep for three years from issuance) and provide a copy to the kasambahay every pay day, containing the amount paid and all deductions made, if any.
“Other conditions” you can enter into with your kasambahay refers to the weekly rest day and service incentive leave. For example, you can offset absent days with rest days, accumulate rest days not exceeding five days, waive rest days in return for an equivalent daily rate of pay, and add accumulated rest days to the service incentive leave. You can also include in the contract that an inspection of the belongings of the kasambahay can be made before she leaves the household. However, you cannot assign your kasambahay to work in a commercial, industrial or agricultural enterprise at below the prescribed minimum wage.
The Kasamabahay Law lists down mandatory benefits for your kasambahay. These include a monthly minimum wage (P2,500 for Metro Manila, P2,000 for cities and 1st class municipalities and P1,500 for other municipalities); daily rest period of 8 total hours, weekly rest period of 24 uninterrupted hours, five days annual service incentive leave with pay, 13th month pay, SSS, PhilHealth and Pag-Ibig benefits. Aside from these mandatory benefits, employers must also provide three adequate meals a day—taking into consideration the kasambahay’s religious beliefs and cultural practices—humane sleeping conditions and appropriate rest and basic medical assistance. Toiletries are optional and employers can provide them gratuitously. Basic medical assistance refers to first-aid medicines. The SSS/PhilHealth will address the medical expenses of other illnesses.
You cannot withhold their wages or tell them how to use their wages. Although you cannot require them to make deposits for loss or damage, deductions from wages for loss or damage are allowed if the kasambahay is clearly shown to be responsible and is given a reasonable opportunity to show why the deduction should be made. The total amount deducted must be fair and reasonable and should not exceed 20% of the monthly wages.
As an employer, you have the right of privacy such that all communication and information pertaining to you and members of your household shall be privileged, confidential and cannot be disclosed by the kasambahay during and after employment. You also have the right to terminate the employment of your kasambahay under the law’s specified circumstances such as misconduct and willful disobedience, fraud, habitual neglect or inefficiency in carrying out duties and violation of the contract.
Jenny Ong blogs at Chroniclesofanusringmom.com.
She’s a member of Mommy Mundo SoMoms.