November 24, 2012
KASAMBAHAY BILL LOCALIZES LABOR STANDARDS
Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada says today that the Kasambahay Bill establishes a national labor policy regarding the effective promotion and protection of rights of domestic workers, in adherence to the internationally-accepted standards laid out by the International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 189.
Sen. Estrada, chairman of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development, is set to sponsor the bicameral conference committee report on the disagreeing provisions of Senate Bill 78 and House Bill 6144 on Monday.
The Philippines officially became the second country to become party to ILO Convention 189 or the Convention concerning decent work for domestic workers, after the Senate concurred on its ratification last August 6, 2012.
Section 1 Article III of the Convention states that each member shall take measures to ensure the effective promotion and protection of the human rights of all domestic workers.
"The passage of Kasambahay Bill is a fulfillment of the country's commitment to the international community when it ratified the domestic workers convention. More importantly, this aims to protect the welfare of more than two million househelpers, nursemaids, cooks, gardeners and laundry persons all over the country," says Jinggoy, who is the author of the measure.
Among the important stipulations of the proposed Batas Kasambahay deal with decent employment and wages, enhanced coverage of social protection, humane treatment and respect for human rights, and strengthened social dialogue.
Article II of the Kasambahay Bill (formally titled Act instituting policies for the protection and welfare of the domestic workers) explicitly enumerates the rights and privileges of every domestic worker. To wit: - The employer or any member of the household shall not subject a domestic worker to any kind of abuse or any form of physical violence or harassment. - The employer shall provide for the basic necessities of the domestic workers to include at least 3 adequate meals a day and sleeping arrangements that ensure safety. - The employer shall respect the privacy of domestic worker and shall extend the same to his/her communication and personal effects. - The employer shall grant the domestic worker access to outside communication. - The employer shall afford the domestic workers to finish basic education and may allow access to alternative learning systems, higher education or technical and vocational training.
The domestic workers shall also be entitled to a daily rest period of eight hours and a weekly rest period of least twenty-four consecutive hours. A domestic worker who has rendered at least one year of service shall be entitled to an annual service incentive leave of five (5) days with pay.
It shall also be unlawful for the employer to place the domestic workers under debt bondage or the rendering of service as security or payment for a debt.
Any violation of the act shall be punishable with a fine not less than 10,000 pesos without prejudice to the filing of appropriate civil and criminal action.
"ILO Convention 189 is an international effort to address the exclusions of domestic workers from labor and social protection, and the occurrence of modern-day slavery. Kasambahay Bill is a concrete, crucial step toward this universal objective," Sen. Estrada asserts.
"Some provisions of this measure are in response to reported incidents of abuse and exploitation against our kasambahay and prevent them from happening again," Sen. Estrada says as he cites the case of Bonita Baran who lost her vision due to years of battery. Baran also says that she was locked inside her employer's home and was paid 800 pesos a month during her first year of service.
The Kasambahay Bill, once signed by President Aquino, will become the enabling law of ILO Convention 189. Further, the bill effectively repeals all articles of Chapter III (Employment of Househelpers) under the current Labor Code.
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