Friday, February 22, 2013

"Kasambahay Bill' Finally Signed Into Law

IN THE NEWS from Interaksyon

Participants and facilitators of CARD HK and Project Be's Financial Literacy Workshop for OFWs (Batch 9) 

President Benigno Aquino III has signed into law the "Kasambahay Bill," formally Republic Act No. 10361 or “An Act Instituting Policies for the Protection and Welfare of Domestic Workers.” The law defines the labor rights of domestic household workers, increases their minimum wage, and provides regular employment benefits for them.

The new law sets the minimum wage of domestic workers to a minimum of P2,500 a month in the National Capital Region; P2,000 a month in chartered cities and first class municipalities; and P1,500 a month for those employed in other municipalities. A year after the law takes effect, the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards are mandated to review and adjust the wages for domestic workers as needed.

Besides standardized pay, domestic workers will be entitled to other social benefits provided under existing laws and to be enrolled in the Social Security System, PhilHealth, and Pag-Ibig Fund, with premium payments shouldered by employers if the helpers receive a monthly salary below P5,000.

You can download a pdf copy of the law here.

A brief commentary

Based on the 2,500 minimum wage defined by the law, SSS, PhilHealth, and Pag-Ibig contributions amount to 260, 100, and 100 pesos, respectively. This means that an employer would have to pay at least 2,960 pesos per month for one kasambahay. If you or your family employs a kasambahay, how much do you pay her? Because as far as I can remember, the informal, "socially acceptable" wage for domestic workers in the NCR has always been 3,000 pesos.

What I would have loved to see is for the law to define a mechanism by which the minimum wage can be periodically adjusted for changes in cost of living or inflation. But hey, beggars can't be choosers.

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