The Kasambahay Law-A A +A
By Kelvin Lee
Question of Law
Thursday, January 24, 2013
PRESIDENT Aquino signed Republic Act 10361 or "An Act Instituting Policies for the Protection and Welfare of Domestic Workers" last January 18, 2013.
This Act is unique because it sets down into law the minimum legal requirements to be imposed on employers of househelp, aka domestic workers or "kasambahay."
Notably, the law defines "kasambahay" as "any person engaged in domestic work within an employment relationship such as, but not limited to, the following: general househelp, nursemaid or ‘yaya,’ cook, gardener, or laundry person..." (Sec. 4 (d), R.A. 10361).
This law then mandates that employers and domestic workers have to enter into, and sign an employment contract in order to employ domestic workers.
Sec. 11 of the law states that "[a]n employment contract shall be executed by and between the domestic worker and the employer before the commencement of the service in a language or dialect understood by both the domestic worker and the employer." (Sec. 11, R.A. 10361).
For practical purposes, that would mean most of these employment contracts would have to be executed in Tagalog or Bisaya or any other native dialect to ensure the contract's validity.
Thankfully, however, the law requires that "[t]he Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) shall develop a model employment contract for domestic workers which shall, at all times, be made available free of charge..." (Id.). As such, we don't have to worry about making our own contracts as the Dole is required to prepare and provide kasambahay employment contract templates for public use.
Another interesting requirement the law imposes for the employment of domestic workers or kasambahay is the issuance of payslips. Sec. 26 requires that "[t]he employer shall at all times provide the domestic worker with a copy of the pay slip containing the amount paid in cash every pay day, and indicating all deductions made, if any. The copies of the pay slip shall be kept by the employer for a period of three (3) years." (Sec. 26, R.A. 10361).
Furthermore, under this law, domestic workers are now entitled to benefits such as SSS, PhilHealth, and the like (Sec. 30, R.A. 10361).
More importantly, the law now sets the minimum wage for domestic workers: P2,500 a month for those employed in the National Capital Region (NCR); P2,000 a month for those employed in chartered cities and first class municipalities; and P1,500 a month for those employed in mother municipalities. (Sec. 24 R.A. 10361).
Considering how many new requirements the law imposes, all employers of domestic workers should review the law to make sure that they can comply with its provisions once it becomes effective.
(Atty. Kelvin Lee is a Partner of the San Juan Tayag Lee & Verga Law Offices and a consultant of the Siguion Reyna Montecillo & Ongsiako Law Office. The opinions expressed herein are his own. You can reach Kelvin through his office at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on January 25, 2013.