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BAGUIO CITY – As the government sustains its campaign to eliminate the worst forms of child labor, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has reminded households that it is unlawful to employ minors as domestic workers or kasambahays.
DOLE-CAR Regional Director Exequiel Ronie A. Guzman said the Kasambahay Law strictly prohibits employing minors, or those who are below 15 years old, as domestic workers because it is considered a clear form of child labor and exploitation.
“Republic Act No. 10361 or the Kasambahay Law states that it is unlawful to employ children under the age of 15. It is also illegal to withhold their wages and benefits and require them to make deposits for loss or damaged items in the household, and placing them on debt bondage.” Guzman added.
“If employers are proven guilty of employing minors as kasambahay, they can be penalized with a fine ranging from P10,000 to P40,000. These penalties are on top of the civil and criminal charges that can be filed against the employers under the R.A. 9231 or the act on the elimination of the worst forms of child labor,” Guzman also said.
On the other hand, the labor department has also intensified the monitoring of compliance of employers on the kasambahay law, particularly on the minimum wage which was set by the DOLE-NWPC.
Guzman reminded employers that kasambahay, which are now categorized as formal sector workers, should be registered with SSS, Philhealth, and Pag-IBIG, and are entitled to a weekly 24-hour rest period, and annual service incentive leave with pay.
He underscored the importance of having a contract of employment or a written agreement between the kasambahay and their employers to specify the scope of work and benefits of the domestic worker.
The contract, Guzman added, should be deposited in the barangay which has the jurisdiction of the workplace and a report should be submitted to the nearest DOLE regional office to monitor the compliance of their employers with the law.
In addition, all domestic workers who have rendered at least 1 month of service shall be covered by SSS, Philhealth and Pagibig Fund and be entitled to all benefits provided by law. For the SSS Kasambahay requirements, for contributions: If the salary or wage under P5,000; the SSS contributions are shouldered solely by the employer and if the salary or wage P5,000 and above then the SSS contributions are proportionately shared by the employer and the domestic worker. For the SSS Benefits of the Kasambahay, as an SSS member, the benefits are: 1) Retirement Benefits, if the kasambahay reached 120 months of contributions at 60 or 65 years of age; 2) Disability Benefit, in case of disability, if completed at least 36 months of contributions prior to disability; 3) Sickness Benefit, in case of illness or injury, you may qualify if you’ve contributed at least 3 months preceding the semester of your sickness; 4) Maternity Benefit, for childbirth and miscarriage and generous benefits Loans – such as salary loans, calamity loan, educational loan and housing loan. A kasambahay may apply for Death and Funeral Benefits and beneficiaries may receive benefits and also dependent’s pension if eligible.
Meanwhile, kasambahay who are experiencing abuse or would like to report their employers for labor laws violations are urged to visit the nearest DOLE regional offices throughout the country or call the DOLE Hotline 1349. By Patrick Rillorta