Knowing more about the Philippine Kasambahay Law or Magna Carta for Domestic Workers
When moving in to the Philippines, expats hires a Kasambahay to do the house chores, run some errands and take care of their children to eventually make their lives easier and more convenient while they perform more important tasks.
A “Kasambahay” (short for “kasama sa bahay”) is a Tagalog term referring to house helpers or domestic workers who do the typical household tasks for their “amo” or employer whether on a live-in or live-out arrangement. For their services, they are paid at least on a monthly basis basing on an agreed rate/wage.
As a little history, on June 2013, former Philippine President Benigno Aquino III signed the Kasambahay Law with the aim to give respect, protect and promote the rights and welfare of house helpers or domestic workers. The ILO Convention No. 189 or the Decent Work for Domestic Workers Convention was adopted for the early passage of the law. It is said that there are approximately 3 million Kasambahays who will benefit from the said law.
Here is a dozen of basic tips that expats ought to know when hiring Kasambahays:
1) Who are the “Kasambahay” covered by the law?
- Laundry persons
2) Where or how can an employer hire a Kasambahay?
- An employer can hire directly or through private employment agencies (PEA) registered with the DOLE regional offices.
3) What is their minimum wage?
- For National Capital Region: P2,500.00
- For cities & first class municipalities outside NCR: P2,000.00
- Other municipalities: P1,500.00
4) Who are not covered by the law?
- Family drivers
- Children under foster family arrangement
- Service providers
- Any other person who performs work occasionally or sporadically and not on an occupational and regular basis.
5) What is the employable Kasambahay age?
- Fifteen years old and above. However, for fifteen to seventeen years old kasambahays, they shall not be allowed to work more than eight hours a day or beyond 40 hours a week. Further, working hours must not go beyond 10 o’clock in the evening and 6 o’clock of in the morning of the following day.
- In addition to that, they are also not allowed to do hazardous works and should not be denied access to education and training. Consent of the guardian or parent of the Kasambahay who is 15-17 years old is required to be stipulated in the employment contract.
6) Their rest period.
- Daily: The 8 hour rest period must be observed and employers cannot require the helper to work beyond 16 hours in any given workday in return for an equivalent hourly rate.
- Weekly: Employers and helper may agree to shorten the 24-hour rest day period of helpers, provided the employer pays for the hours worked during the shortened rest day. The weekly rest period/day of the helper will be set based on the agreement of employer and helper. The employer shall respect the preferred weekly rest day of the helper on religious grounds.
7) Are there pre-employment requirements?
- YES. In order to be sure and for it to be fair with the expats, a pre-employment requirement must be submitted by the applying Kasambahay prior to contract signing. The Private Employment Agencies usually mandatorily requires this prior to hiring.
- Here the requirements:
- Medical certificate or health certificate issued by a local government health officer;
- Barangay and police clearance;
- NBI clearance;
- Duly authenticated birth certificate, or if not available, voter’s certification card, baptismal record, or passport showing the Kasambahay’s age.
8) Here are the mandatory benefits that Kasambahays should be getting:
- Monthly minimum wage;
- Daily rest period of 8 hours;
- Uninterrupted weekly rest period of 24 hours;
- 5 days annual service incentive leave with pay (not convertible to cash and forfeited if not used);
- 13th month pay;
- SSS Benefit;
- Philhealth benefit;
- Pag-IBIG benefit;
Monthly or quarterly mandatory benefits of the Kasambahays are to paid by the employer if the Kasambahay’s wage is less than P5,000.
If the wage is P5,000 or more, the Kasambahay will pay his/her share in the premiums/ contributions.
9) What medical assistance do employers need to provide to his/her Kasambahays?
- First aid medicines such as paracetamol, antiseptic, and mefenamic acid as well as bandaids and bandages are to be provided in case a Kasambahay is slightly injured or has slight illness sustained during performing his/her duties.
- SSS, ECC, and Philhealth have programs that can address the medical expenses of the Kasambahay if severely injured.
10) Is the employer required to register the Kasambahay? If yes, where?
- Yes. The employer is required to register the kasambahay in the Registry of Domestic Workers in the barangay where the employer resides. For this purpose, the DILG, in coordination with the DOLE, shall formulate a registration system.
11) Can the employers terminate the contract of the Kasambahay? If yes, how?
- Yes, on the following grounds:
a. Misconduct or willful disobedience by the Kasambahay of the lawful order of the employer in connection with the former’s work;
b. Gross or habitual neglect or inefficiency by the Kasambahay in the performance of duties;
c. Fraud or willful breach of the trust reposed by the employer on the Kasambahay;
d. Commission of a crime or offense by the Kasambahay against the person of the employer or any immediate member of the employer’s family;
e. Violation by the Kasambahay of the terms and conditions of the employment contract and other standards set forth under the law;
f. Any disease prejudicial to the health of the Kasambahay, the employer, or members of the household;
g. Other causes analogous to the following.
12) How are employers protected if the Kasambahay will leave his/her employers without justifiable reasons?
- Kasambahay’s wage equivalent to fifteen working days shall be forfeited and the deployment expenses shall be reimbursed by the Kasambahay if the contract is terminated within 6 months from employment.
- Although the employer cannot inspect the belongings of the Kasambahay before leaving the household, they can agree in their employment contract that an inspection is mandatory prior to the departure of the Kasambahay. If in case the contract has stipulated this, then the Kasambahay is obliged to open his/her luggage prior to departure when requested by the employer.
- Finally, employers have the right of privacy such that all information and communication pertaining to the employer and members of the employer’s household shall be privileged, confidential and cannot be disclosed by the Kasambahay during and after employment.
With the implementation of this law, both employer and the Kasambahay are protected from any troubling scenarios. Aside from benefiting from each other, they can also share good experiences together and learn from each other.
One last thing, let me share this best tip we got from other expat employers: Have the contract with your Kasambahay written in a language or dialect they can understand specifying in details their duties and responsibilities, period of employment, salary and any other conditions to avoid miscommunication in the future. This can be arranged by PEA. For your convenience and understanding of the contract’s content, you may also ask the assistance from any Filipino friend or barangay official to have the contract’s provisions translated.