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National

President Aquino should now sign bill that will benefit household helpers

InterAksyon.com
The online news portal of TV5

President Benigno Aquino III should now sign a bill that would standardize salaries of the country’s two million household helpers, a lawmaker said on Thursday. 

"I am just wondering what keeps President Aquino from signing the Kasambahay bill," San Juan Representative JV Ejercito Ejercito, one of the principal authors of the measure, said in a statement. "I'm appealing to his sense of compassion. I hope he will realize the importance of the measure to lowly household helpers, some of whom are being maltreated by abusive employers.”

The measure has been ratified by Congress last month and is currently awaiting the President’s signature to become a law.

Ejercito said he was hoping that the President would act on the Kasambahay bill with dispatch similar to the Sin Tax and Reproductive Health bills, which are now laws after the ratified measures were signed in December.

Under the measure, the minimum wage of domestic workers was set to at least 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 enrolled in the Social Security System, Philhealth, and Pag-Ibig Fund, with premium payments will be shouldered by employers if the helpers receive a monthly salary below P5,000.

If a household helper’s salary is P5,000 and over, the premium payments of SSS and Pag-ibig contributions will be shared by the employer and worker, but Philhealth premiums will still be paid by the employer.

The bill also entitles domestic workers who have rendered at least one year of service an annual service incentive leave of five days with pay, as well as 13th month pay.

Employers are also prohibited from placing their helpers under debt bondage, as well as from hiring minors below 15 years of age.

They must also allow their helpers to finish basic education and access higher education, technical and vocational training, or other alternative learning systems.

Under the bill, all labor-related disputes will be elevated to the regional offices of the Department of Labor and Employment, while ordinary crimes or offenses would be filed with regular courts.

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