13th month pay for household helpers pushed

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Thursday, July 28, 2011


EMPLOYERS should pay their household helpers a 13th month salary to improve their plight amid the series of increases in the prices of goods.

House Bill 4753, authored by ALE Partylist Rep. Catalina Cabrera Bagasina, states that while government and private workers are receiving their annual year-end bonuses, most household helpers depend largely on the benevolence of their employers for such benefit.

“The household sector has no labor law protection because there is no law protecting them. They do not enjoy the minimum wage law, overtime pay, medical benefits and service incentive leave. The only benefits entitled them by law are social security benefits but these are still denied them by most of their employers,” it added.

Bagasina said the passage of the bill will provide emphasis on the government's responsibility to uplift the social conditions of all household helpers by instituting the regular grant of the 13th month pay.

"This will give the 'kasambahay' the extra money to send to their families during the holidays and will give them additional purchasing power and help pump prime the economy,” she stressed.

The Senate already passed its version of the Kasambahay bill, which requires employers to provide contracts and pay-slips to household workers. The contracts should set the working hours, rest days, specific duties and responsibilities of domestic helpers.

Senate Bill 78 provides that aside from a 13th month pay, the kasambahay should also be entitled to membership and benefits in PhilHealth, Pag-IBIG and the Employees Compensation Commission.

Local government units should likewise conduct a registration of employers and household helpers for monitoring and regulation purposes and to develop and implement gender-responsive programs.

As per a study by the Philippine Commission on Women, the population of household workers in the country ranged from 600,000 to 2.5 million. The Visayan Forum, a non-government organization working for the protection and justice of trafficked women and children specifically domestic workers, also estimated that around one million of these helpers are minors. (CGC)

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on July 28, 2011.

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