House of Representatives

House OKs bill amending Batas Kasambahay to ward off ‘criminal minds’

Dwight de Leon
House OKs bill amending Batas Kasambahay to ward off ‘criminal minds’

LAUNDRY WORK. Lea* takes hangers from the top of a washing machine.

Photo by Sofia Abrogar

The proposal puts greater responsibility on private employment agencies, which would be held liable if domestic workers they place with a household commit a criminal act in the first year of employment

MANILA, Philippines – The House of Representatives approved on final reading a bill that seeks to amend Republic Act No. 10361, also known as Batas Kasambahay.

All 246 lawmakers in attendance on Monday, November 28, voted in favor of the proposal, which:

  • compels private employment agencies (PEAs) to ensure that the domestic helper they place with a household seeking one has no criminal record
  • makes PEAs liable in relation to any criminal act committed by the domestic worker in the first year of employment

House Bill No. 4477 says it is PEAs’ responsibility to conduct a diligent background check on the domestic worker, and ensure they have a birth certificate, as well as clearances from the barangay, police, and National Bureau of Investigation.

“What happens when the PEAs are used as entry points for those with criminal minds to penetrate the homes of the unsuspecting employer?” Calamba Representative Charisse Anne Hernandez said in the explanatory note of the bill passed.

“This bill aims to safeguard the persons of the employers and their family in their abode against those who might use PEAs as vehicles in executing their criminal intentions by imposing greater accountability from PEAs,” she added.

Enacted in 2013, Batas Kasambahay was the first Philippine law aimed at protecting domestic workers from exploitation by ensuring they are paid properly and are receiving their benefits. –

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Dwight de Leon

Dwight de Leon is a multimedia reporter who covers the House of Representatives and the Commission on Elections for Rappler. Previously, he wrote stories on local government units.