When RA 10361 also known as Kasambahay law was signed into law January of 2013, it immediately raised many questions particularly from baffled employers as well as domestic workers (Katulong or Kasambahay in present-day euphemish). This is because not much was known about the provisions of the law and some of those in the media also immediately went into a sort of sensationalism to get attention about the issue. It did get attention and soon after, the government issued the implementing rules that will serve as guide to those affected by the new law.
For Agencies or businesses engaged in providing house helpers, families wanting to get a house helper and also people looking at the possibility of getting employed as a Kasambahay, here are the salient points of RA 10361 or the Kasambahay law.
Treatment of Kasambahay (Secs. 6&7)
The employer must provide the house helper with decent quarters, provide 3 meals a day and give medical assistance when injury or sickness happens in the line of work. The medical assistance is the obligation of the employer and the expenses incurred cannot be deducted from the salary of the house helper. No abuse in whatever form is tolerated and basic necessities must be available at all times to the house helper. The Kasambahay must also be given the right to privacy and this extends to her personal belongings.
Access to Communication (Sec.8)
The house helper is allowed to make outside communication only during her/his free time and this could be during her weekend break or after working hours which could mean during bed time. If the house helper wants to use the communications devices of the employer, the charges incurred must be paid by the house helper.
Right to Education including Training (Sec.9)
The law used the word “SHALL” which means it is mandatory on the part of the employer to send the house helper to school to finish high school. This is of course if the “Katulong wants to still go to school. As to alternative education or training, the law uses the word “MAY” which means it is not obligatory. The important thing therefore is to allow your Kasambahay finish high school. Since secondary education is now six years to complete and already includes vocational training, employers must prepare to send to school their Kasambahay for a long time.
The expenses to be incurred while studying should be borne by the house helper since the law is silent on this matter. What the law dictates is just for the employer to “afford the domestic helper the opportunity to finish basic education” and this should only apply to the time that must be given for studies.
The employment Contract (Sec.12)
There is now a standard form of employment contract that the DOLE will release for use by domestic helper agencies and employers. It enumerates the terms of the contract and the house helper must be given a copy of the said contract. When the employer asks for requirements like medical certificate, Barangay/police clearance/NBI, Birth Certificate and the like, the expenses in getting the said requirements shall be for the account of the employer or the agency and not by the applicant domestic helper. This is one strange situation where the applicant does not spend anything in getting her requirements ready.
Age Requirement (Sec.16)
The minimum age for any person applying as a domestic helper is fifteen (15) years old. Employers must ascertain the age of the Kasambahay right from the start to make sure that the law is not violated. If the domestic helper is to determined to be under fifteen years of age, the employer can be held liable under the provisions of RA 7610 on child abuse.
Duty of Employer to Register House Helper (Sec.17)
It shall be the obligation of the employer to register the domestic helper in the Barangay where he resides. This is also good on the part of the employer and actually already a practice of some employers even before the Kasambahay law was enacted.
Working Hours (Sec.20)
The Kasambahay must be given a total of eight hours of rest every day. This means you can make them work for sixteen hours?
Day Off (Sec. 21)
As per section 21 of Kasambahay law, the domestic helper is entitled to 24 hours of rest every week or the equivalent of one day of rest. This is the same as the day off that they are normally getting from most employers. The catch is the kasambahay can decide when to take the rest day if it is based on religious grounds.
Salary of Kasambahay (Sec. 24 and 26)
The minimum set by law for a Kasambahay salary is now P2,500 in Metro Manila, P2,000 in cities and first class municipalities in the provinces, and P1,500 in provinces with second and third class municipalities. The old law provides for P1,000 minimum wage per month and therefore RA10361 offers a much improved salary and benefits to domestic helpers. Under the new law however, the employer is required to issue a pay slip to the domestic helper.
Benefits given by Kasambahay Law to Domestic Helpers
Annual leave (Sec.29)
The Kasambahay is entitled to five days leave after giving one year of service. If the five days leave is unused, it shall be carried over to the succeeding year and can still be availed.
Benefits (Sec. 30)
The Kasambahay law mandates that the domestic helper is entitled to SSS, Philhealth, Pag-Ibig and all other benefits as may be determined under the law. The employer shall shoulder the premium payments and no share is required from the domestic helper. The domestic helper is required only to pay a share if their wage or salary is P5,000.00 or more per month.
Termination of Contract (Sec.33)
The employer may terminate the contract at anytime with or without just cause. But the domestic helper is entitled to the salary pertaining to the days worked PLUS 15 days salary as a form of indemnity if the termination is without just cause. On the part of the Kasambahay, he/she can also terminate the contract with or without just cause provided however that the employer has the right not to pay up to 15 days salary of the days worked. If the house helper decides to leave without just cause, the employer is also entitled to payment of the costs incurred in getting the house helper from an agency provided however that the contract has not yet reached six months.
For a complete reading of Kasambahay law, you may visit: