AS THE government sustains its campaign to eliminate the worst forms of child labor, the labor department has reminded households it is unlawful to employ minors as domestic workers.
The Department of Labor and Employment's (DOLE’s) Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns (BWSC) Director Ma. Karina Perida-Trayvilla said the Kasambahay Law strictly prohibits employing minors or those who are below 15 years old as domestic workers because it is considered a clear form of child labor and exploitation.
Citing the October 2019 survey of the Philippine Statistics Authority, National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC) Executive Director Maria Criselda Sy said there are about 1,400,132 domestic household workers in the country.
Of the said number, about four percent or more than 40,000 of them are child domestic workers aged 18 and below, and less than one percent or about 5,000 are below 15 years old.
The same statistics also showed a high incidence of child domestic labor in the female sector, whereas 95.2 percent or 4,732 are females and 4.8 percent or 237 are males.
Republic Act (RA) 10361 or the Kasambahay Law states that it is unlawful to employ children under the age of 15. It is also illegal to withhold their wages and benefits and require them to make deposits for loss or damaged items in the household and placing them in debt bondage.
“If employers are proven guilty of employing minors as kasambahay, they can be penalized with a fine ranging from P10,000 to P40,000. These penalties are on top of the civil and criminal charges that can be filed against the employers under the RA 9231 or the act on the elimination of the worst forms of child labor,” Trayvilla said.
The labor department has also intensified the monitoring of compliance of employers on the Kasambahay Law, particularly on the minimum wage that was set by the DOLE-NWPC.
Trayvilla reminded employers that kasambahay, which are now categorized as formal sector workers, should be registered with the Social Security System, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, and Pag-IBIG, and are entitled to a weekly 24-hour rest period and annual service incentive leave with pay.
She underscored the importance of having a contract of employment or a written agreement between the kasambahay and their employers to specify the scope of work and benefits of the domestic worker.
Trayvilla added the contract should be deposited in the barangay, which has the jurisdiction of the workplace, and a report be submitted to the nearest DOLE regional office to monitor the compliance of their employers with the law.
Kasambahays who are experiencing abuse or would like to report their employers for labor laws violations are urged to visit the nearest DOLE regional offices throughout the country or call the DOLE Hotline 1349.