MANILA, Philippines - The Kasambahay Law will take effect next week.
"Ang batas napirmahan noong January 18. Na-publish po sa Official Gazette on the same day, 15 days after po yun bale Feb. 3 po ang effectivity ng law," said Director Nicanor Bon, Chief of the Policy and Program Development Division of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
The DOLE, concerned government agencies, and non-government organizations assisting domestic workers will formulate the law's Implementing Rules and Regulations within 90 days from the effectivity of the Act.
“Retroactive po yung implementing rules kasi ang importante dyan yung effectivity of the law," explained Bon who was a guest at Rated Korina during the continuation of the radio program's discussions on the Kasambahay Law on Tuesday.
But with just a few more days before the law takes effect, many employers and domestic workers are still unsure of how to go about with the new law.
REST DAY, BENEFITS
Maria Lilia said she has been a stay-in caregiver of her 91-year old ward in Quezon City since 2007. Although she earns P4,500 a month, more than what the law stipulates as the minimum standard pay of P2,500 a month, she has not taken a day off.
"Hindi pa po ako nakaka-day off kahit minsan," she said.
Bon said that the new law clearly states that a domestic worker be given one-day rest every week.
"Kung iwe-wave niya yung day off, bibigyan siya ng kaukulang isang araw na sweldo para sa day off na yun. Kung siya ay pinapasok sa rest day niya, dapat bigyan siya ng sweldo para sa araw na yun," Bon said.
Bon also allayed the fear of Maria's co-worker, an all-around domestic worker who is earning more than the minimum wage set by the new law.
"Kung siya po ay tumatanggap ng mas mataas kaysa doon sa minimum requirement di na po pwedeng basta yun bawasan kasi papatak po yung rule natin sa non-diminution of benefits,” he said.
A caller also asked about the necessity of having to pay for Pag-IBIG housing benefits contribution for domestic workers.
"Ang purpose ng batas na ito ay para mabigyan ng social security benefits ang ating mga kasambahay. Ang kasambahay dapat po katulad na din ng ordinary worker na protected siya ang SSS, PAG-Ibig at Philhealth," Bon said.
Donna, an employer and an ordinary worker herself, wanted clarification on the law's provision that gives rights to domestic workers to education and training.
"Ang nakalagay sa batas, bigyan siya ng oportunidad para makapagtapos ng basic education. Sa public (schools) po libre naman po yan," he said.
But Donna fears that household work would be disrupted once the worker decides to go to school. And since classes usually take half or sometimes the whole day, she is also worried that no one would be around to secure her house.
"Sa batas natin, yung employer dapat po i-adjust yung kanyang work schedule para siya ay mabigyan ng pagkakataong makapag aral. Makikipagpulong din po tayo sa DepEd (Department of Education) sa ganitong pamamaraan kung paano po," Bon said.
Bon said that these things can be ironed out beforehand by the employer and the domestic worker if the two enter into an agreement.
"Sa pag empleyo pa lang mapagusapan na ito. Ano ba plano mo? Magaaral ka ba? Anong scheduling? Kaya may agreement tayo yung amo at kasamabahay pwedeng pagusapan yun," he said.
EMPLOYER OPPOSITION, BASIC NECESSITIES
What if the employer decides not to shoulder any of the benefits under the law? What's the recourse for domestic workers?
"Pwede po silang dumulog sa pinakamalapit na opisina ng Department of Labor and Employment. Sa Metro Manila, may mga field offices na pwedeng lapitan," he said.
Shampoo, soap, and toothpaste? Should employers provide for these personal things too?
"Nakalagay sa atin batas na ang employer po dapat ibigay ang basic necessities ng domestic worker to include yung three square meals," said Bon.
"In practice po ibinibigay na din yun ng may bahay," he added.