DOLE approves P500 wage hike for domestic workers in Eastern Visayas

MANILA, Philippines – Domestic workers in Eastern Visayas will soon receive P500 more in their monthly salaries with a recently approved wage order by the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) in Region 8.

Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said on Monday, February 29, that domestic workers in chartered cities and first class municipalities in Region 8 are set to get P2,500 ($52.69) each month while those in other municipalities will receive P2,000 ($42.15).

"This is very good news for our domestic workers in Eastern Visayas," said Baldoz, saying the region is the 4th to raise domestic workers' minimum wage after the Cordillera Administrative Region, CALABARZON (Region 4-A), and Western Visayas (Region 6). 

The wage order also allows domestic workers or kasambahays to bargain for higher wages with their employers. (READ: Domestic work is work)

"Employers and their domestic workers may voluntarily and mutually agree to adopt a competency-based pay scheme in setting and adjusting the pay of domestic workers over and above the applicable wage," said Baldoz. 

According to the labor secretary, the National Wages and Productivity Commission, where she is chairperson, will still need to review the order before it is officially implemented. The date of effectivity has not yet been announced.

Baldoz said the wage order in Region 8 will cover domestic workers who work on both live-in or live-out arrangements, including general househelpers, yayas, cooks, gardeners, laundry persons, and "any person who regularly performs domestic work in one household on an occupational basis."

The wage hike, however, will not apply to service providers, family drivers, children under foster family arrangements, and "any other person who performs work occasionally or sporadically and not on occupational basis."

Result of public consultation

Section 24 of Republic Act (RA) 10361 or the Domestic Workers Act sets the monthly minimum wage at P2,000 ($42.15) for domestic workers employed in chartered cities and first class municipalities, and P1,500 ($31.61) a month for those employed in other municipalities.

The RA also mandates Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards to review the minimum wage rates of domestic workers and adjust the rates according to the needs of the employees. 

The approved wage order was a result of the following:

"The results of the surveys, consultations, and public hearing, as well as review of economic indicators, revealed the need to grant relief to kasambahays' minimum wage rates in our region," said RTWPB Region 8 Chairman and DOLE Regional Director Elias Cayanong.

Benefits, rights of domestic workers

Baldoz reminded employers that domestic workers should be paid in cash at least once a month and no deductions from their salaries should be made other than those mandated by law. (READ: Batas Kasambahay: A law exploited)

She also reminded employers about the basic necessities that domestic workers should be receiving, including at least 3 adequate daily meals, humane sleeping arrangements, and appropriate rest and assistance in cases of illness and injuries sustained during service without loss of benefits. 

Baldoz warned employers against withholding the wages of domestic workers and interfering with how the workers will spend their salaries.

"Such withholding or interference is punishable with a fine of not less than P10,000, but not more than P40,000 without prejudice to the filing of appropriate civil and/or criminal action by the aggrieved party," she said.

Meanwhile, the labor secretary advised domestic workers in Eastern Visayas to file a report against employers who will not comply with the wage hike once it is in effect. 

"Any complaint shall go through the 30-day mandatory conciliation under the DOLE Single Entry Approach program to exhaust all efforts for settlement," said Baldoz. – Rappler.com

US$1 = 47.45

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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