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Legarda Bats for Decent Working and Living Conditions for House Helpers, Wants Immediate Ratification of the Domestic Workers Convention

October 26, 2011

SENATOR LOREN LEGARDA TODAY EXPRESSED SUPPORT TO THE PHILIPPINE CAMPAIGN ON DECENT WORK FOR DOMESTIC WORKERS, PARTICULARLY ON THE SWIFT RATIFICATION OF THE INTERNATIONAL LABOR ORGANIZATION (ILO) CONVENTION NO. 189, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS “DOMESTIC WORKERS CONVENTION, 2011”.
Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, said that house helpers are one of the lowest paid workers and are usually subjected to poor working conditions such as longer hours of work but no overtime pay and lack of social benefits.
The ILO Convention 189 promotes and protects rights of domestic workers and sets out measures to ensure fair terms of employment and decent working and living conditions.
“This treaty, in conjunction with Senate Bill 78 (the proposed Househelpers Additional Benefits and Protection Act), will create the legal mechanism which will ensure that the rights of household workers are protected,” Legarda explained.
“We cannot deny the fact that our society undervalues domestic work, but the role of our kasambahays not just in doing the household chores, but also in caring for our children while we are at work should never be taken for granted. It is high time that we give our house helpers the equal protection of rights that they deserve,” she stressed.
Legarda cited statistics from the Visayan Forum Foundation, Inc. that there are 1.9 million household workers in the country which will enjoy the provisions set out in the Convention. Furthermore, records of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) show that 96,583 Filipinos were deployed under the category “Domestic Helpers and Related Household Workers” in 2010.
The Senator explained that the ILO standards set out that domestic workers around the world who care for families and households, must have the same basic labor rights as those available to other workers: reasonable hours of work, weekly rest of at least 24 consecutive hours, a limit on in-kind payment, clear information on terms and conditions of employment, as well as respect for fundamental principles and rights at work including freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining.
“We have filed Senate Resolution 615 to urge the government to immediately consider the Philippines’ entry as a State party to the ILO Convention 189 so that we can start striving for the improvement of the working conditions of Filipino domestic workers,” Legarda concluded.