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Senator Legarda Champions Household Workers’ Rights

July 18, 2010

SENATOR LOREN LEGARDA, THROUGH THE FILING OF SENATE BILL NO. 7, STRONGLY RECOMMENDED PEGGING THE MINIMUM WAGE FOR HOUSEHOLD HELPERS TO P4,000 AND REQUIRING ALL HOUSEHOLD WORKING ARRANGEMENTS BE IN WRITING IN A LANGUAGE OR DIALECT UNDERSTOOD BY BOTH THE EMPLOYER AND HOUSEHOLD HELPERS.
Raised by her Nanay Fely, whom she has always considered as family, the Senator stated that she filed this bill, “to acknowledge the inherent dignity and nobility of the work of our household helpers or our beloved “kasambahays”. They sacrifice their own lives and families to take care and cater to the needs of others. The promotion of their rights, giving them more benefits, and protecting their welfare are but small gestures compared to their collective contribution to society.”
Senator Legarda also proposed that our “Kasambahays” be entitled to a 13th month pay, membership to the Social Security System, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, vacation leaves, maternity benefits, and deployment expenses.
The Legarda Bill stipulates that, “Each contracting party – the employer and the “kasambahay” – should be provided with a complete set of the duly signed contract of service,” which covers the following:
1. Period of Employment, which shall not exceed 2 years;
2. Monthly compensation and mode of payment;
3. Annual Salary increase;
4. Duties and Responsibilities;
5. Working hours and day-off schedule; and
6. Living quarters or sleeping arrangements.
“One of the most influential persons in my life is my own Nanay Fely, and to this day, even if I have already two children, she continues to take care of my family.”
“Domestic helpers enable us to fully pursue our social and economic activities. In some homes, they are overworked and even poorly compensated. Recognizing them as an invaluable contribution to our society by acknowledging their financial and physical needs is long due.”
“Senate Bill No. 7 also enumerates the rights and privileges that should be accorded to our “kasambahays” with a special provision for minor helpers. The bill also provides for the standard of treatment, prohibitions on labor sub-contracting, prohibitions on recruitment and finder’s fees, and provisions for their basic necessities.”
Legarda concluded, “Domestic helpers have become our “companions at home”. At some instances, they are pushed into the role of being the second mother to children whose Moms are working outside the home. They provide personal comfort, convenience and even safety to our homes and the members of our household. It is about time that the “kasambahays” be given the compensation and benefits they deserve.”