Carlo's Think Pieces

Reflections of a Filipino in the Netherlands

On the Kasambahay Law

Posted by butalidnl on 12 February 2013

Some news reports say that the new Kasambahay Law (Republic Act 10361, “An Act Instituting Policies for the Protection and Welfare of Domestic Workers” was signed into law on 18 January 2013) will have the unintended consequence of making many people unemployed. Families who could not afford to pay P 2500/month (in Metro Manila) to their kasambahays are expected to lay them off en masse.
Let us take a closer look at this supposed effect.

There are two kinds of families who pay their kasambahays too little. First, there are those whose income is high enough, but who pay their kasambahays too little because they think that is all they deserve. These families would be forced to pay a decent living wage to their kasambahays. They may have to forego some very minor luxuries to do this.

Then, there are the families whose income is barely enough to support the family plus a kasambahay.  If such families cannot afford to pay P2500/month  to a kasambahay, they should simply not hire one. Very often, such families do not objectively need a kasambahay. They could easily divide household tasks among the members of the family.
For these families, having a kasambahay  is more a matter of prestige than an objective need. They want to underline the fact that their social status has risen by having a kasambahay.  Family members then think it would be beneath them to do household chores. But when they do hire a kasambahay, they could not afford to pay them properly, and the working conditions would often be bad (e.g. cramped sleeping quarters, bad food, long work hours).

When a family hires a kasambahay they are making a choice not to spend for some other things instead. Rationally, a family would hire a kasambahay when it is able to become more productive (and thus earn more money) as a result. This is the case when both partners work. But hiring a kasambahay may not always be the optimum solution. There are (theoretically) other choices open to them.
If they need help in specific tasks e.g. cooking, laundry, gardening, cleaning or taking care of children, there are options other than hiring a live-in kasambahay. Cooking could be done by sharing the task among all household members, or they could bring home cooked food. Children could go to day-care centers, and a good schedule of play-dates could be made for the other days. They could hire a labandera to come once a week, or bring their clothes to a laundry service; they could hire someone to clean the house or to work the garden once a week. These steps would probably be cheaper than hiring a live-in kasambahay.

Massive Lay-offs?
The main beneficiaries of the kasambahay arrangement are the families who employ them. The kasambahays also benefit, but only if they are paid properly and have decent working conditions. Overall welfare is not enhanced by allowing sub-standard payment and working conditions of kasambahays.

The Kasambahay Law imposes added financial and legal requirements for employers. But will it result in massive lay-offs of kasambahays? This is most unlikely. The majority of employers can afford to pay the required wages. The minimum wage of 2500 pesos is only for kasambahays in Metro Manila; it is 2000 pesos for other chartered cities and first-class municipalities, and only 1500 pesos for everywhere else. Most families already pay as much to their kasambahays; and those who don’t will probably only have to pay a little more to comply.

Employers will have more of a problem with the other requirements. Kasambahays need to be registered with the SSS, PhilHealth and Pag-Ibig, and the employers will need to make the monthly payments. The kasambahays need to be registered with the local barangays. The kasambahays must have a minimum of 8 hours of rest a day, and 24 hours off a week; they will have five days of annual leave with pay. Also, hiring children younger than 15 years old is prohibited.
A written contract will have to be accomplished, there is a list of valid reasons allowed for termination, employers should respect the kasambahay’s privacy. For their part, the kasambahay is now required to keep all information about the employers family confidential, even after their work with them is over.
All this means that employers’ relationship with their kasambahay will have to change.

The main ‘problem’ with the Kasambahay Law is not economic, but cultural. Filipinos are not yet used to treating their kasambahays as full fledged workers. It will take some years before people will have made the cultural adjustment.

Very few kasambahays presently employed will be laid off. There would probably be a shift from recruiting kasambahays from afar, to those coming from nearby.

National Development
In addition to its being a worker welfare law, the Kasambahay Law is a law that will foster Philippine national development. It will increase the cash that kasambahays receive, since: it bans delayed payment or payment in kind; deployment expenses will be shouldered by the employers; agencies will be prohibited from taking a part of the kasambahay’s salary. This increased cash would have multiplier effects when it is remitted to their home towns.

The law promotes the integration of kasambahays in the urban labor force. It will help make being a kasambahay a steppingstone to other jobs.

The rationalization of domestic labor that the law brings will gradually transform Philippine society. Domestic workers will eventually be hired only by families which can afford them AND really need them. Others would then be hired only for specific tasks, and this will streamline the labor market. More young girls would then go to high school in their hometowns instead of becoming kasambahays in the big cities. And many of those now working as kasambahays will pursue an education. This will come at a time when the country has an increasing need for educated workers, for which there is an impending shortage.

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9 Responses to “On the Kasambahay Law”

  1. gerardo mariano said

    I think this law is untimely. It has come at a time when there is shortage for this badly or essentially needed helpers. Thus even without this law, they can already demand for exorbitant wages as much as P500/8hrs for a lavandera. Pls. take note that there are many college graduates who earns only P12,000-P14000/month. And this shortage has made a 360 degree turn around to the employer-helper relationship. While before it could be the employer who tends to be abusive, now it is the helper who is abusive. Most of them do not work properly anymore and indulges all the time in their cellphones or in their other personal matters. They get, use or tinker without permission things which belongs to their employer if not totally rob them of great values and then run away. Or some abuses the helpless child under their care. There are those who threatens to leave or leave without due notice. Still others, would just like to go to Manila. Once you have already advanced their fare expense and have stayed with you for a day or two, they will leave you to stay with their relatives or work for other employers. How can the employer retrieve these fare expense or other helper’s advances? Have these been considered in Kasambahay Law? Or is the law one-sided & outright for the helpers without any consideration for the abused employers?

  2. jennie said

    so paano ba ito ipapatupad kung 2500 peso a month dapat unahin nila muna ang mga agency na dapat minimum yan at sila mismo ang mag require ng mga complete papers para sa tao kasi nag babayad ang mga employer sa kanila dapat sila ang mag sasabi na 2500 ang minimum kasi paano yung mga nag aapply di kasi yan papayag pag 2500 lang tapos iba dipa marunong sa work tapos yun nga binabantayan ka tsaka lang mag trabaho pag nakikita ka na dapat sa agency pa lang 2500 peso na ang sabihin nila starting pag ok naman at masipag di yung amo na at ang kasambahay na ang mag uusap kasi ngayun ang maid na ang nag dedemand total naman gumawa ng kasambahay bill ipatututupad ang 2500 sa agency pa lang at completo sa papel para way problema

    • Gerardo Mariano said

      KASAMBAHAY LAW Wala Sa Lugar, Wala Sa Tamang Panahon     Another very unreasonable law must be shouldered by Juan de la Cruz particularly the supposed to be Middle Class who by now because of our current economic situation may be rightly classified as part too of the Lowest Class or The Poor.   Noong araw pag ikaw ay nakatapos ng kolehiyo at nakapasok sa isang opisina, malamang ikaw ay mapabilang sa tinatawag na Middle Class. Pero ngayon magkano ba ang sahod ng mga ito? Malamang ang mga baguhan ay magsisimula sa Minimum o P456/day.   Pag ikaw ay nag-asawa, naturalmente, kailangan mo ng magsarili. Kung kayat kailangan mo na ng isang bahay na matitirahan nyong mag-asawa. Dahil wala ka pang pambili, mapipilitan kang mangupahan. Sa puntong ito atin munang sumahin ang Net Income & Basic Expenses ng mag-asawang ito.   Minimum Salary/Day P456 X 26 = Gross Income P11,856.00. Gross Income 11,856.00 – Philhealth 137.50 – SSS 366.70 – Pag-ibig 100.00 = Monthly Individual Net Income P 11,251.80. Monthly Individual Net Income 11,251.80 X 2 = Monthly Couples Net Income P 22,503.60. House Rental 5,000.00 + Electricity 2,300.00 + Water 350.00 + Pamalengke 5,000.00 + Couples Transportation To & Fro The Office (P120 X 26 X 2 ) 6,240.00 + Couples Meal At The Office ( P80 X 26 X 2 ) 4,160.00 + Baby Milk 4,500.00 + Baby Pampers 1,600.00 + Baby Water 450.00 + Kasambahay Wage 3,000.00 = Monthly Basic Expenses P 32,600.00. Monthly Basic Expenses 32,600.00 – Monthly Couples Net Income 22,503.60 = Monthly Net Income Shortage To Basic Expenses P10,096.40.   Note: This computation did not even include LPG Gas, Grocery Items, Baby’s Check Ups & Other Health           Maintanance Budget, House/Car/Educational Plans, etc.   Mapapansin natin na mas malaki ng P10,096 ang Basic Expenses kaysa Net Income. Kung kayat kailangan pa ang karagdagang halagang iyan sa Net Income ng sino man sa mag-asawa upang matustusan ang Basic Expenses. Malamang mahabang panahong paghihintay, pagsisikap, & panalangin pa ang katapat ng halagang iyan.   Bagamat halos wala na ngang matira o kulang pa nga ang kanilang kita ay kailangan pa rin nilang kumuha ng isang kasambahay na mag-aasikaso sa bahay lalo na kung may maliit silang anak upang silang mag-asawa naman ay makapasok sa kani-kanilang opisina.   Sa panahon ngayon, napakahirap ng kumuha ng isang kasambahay kung kayat ang amo na ang nakikisama sa kanila sa pag-asang tumagal-tagal naman ang mga ito. Bukod pa dito, mataas na ang kanilang Asking Price, pinakamababa na marahil ang P3,000.00 at madalas ay napakaabusado pa. Ilang halimbawa ang mga sumusunod: ·        Nandoong hihingan ka ng pamasahe plus finder’s fee kung may ahente, pagkatapos ay hindi naman sisipot o sisipot nga pero makalipas lang ang ilang araw ay lalayasan ka na. Paano naman ang iyong nagastos na lubhang mahalaga din sa iyo? ·        Puro cellphone na lamang ang inaatupag pag di nakaharap ang kanilang mga amo kung kayat ang kanilang mga gawain ay di na maisaayos o di na talaga ginagawa. ·        Walang ingat sa mga gamit & kasangkapan. ·        Walang pakundangan pag-aaksaya ng gasul, kuryente, tubig, pagkain, etc. ·        Pagnapagsabihan, sila pa ang galit o tuwirang lalaban pa sa kanilang amo. ·        Marami pang iba, ngunit ang higit na pinakamasama ay ang pagmaltrato sa mga alaga nilang bata o ang malakihang pagnanakaw.   Sa kabila nito, dahil nga sa lubhang pangangailangan mo at napakahirap na ngang kumuha ng isang kasambahay, ay pagtitiyagaan mo pa rin. Susugal ka pa rin, sabay ng panalangin na “ Huwag naman sana ang pinakamasamang mangyayari”.   Tapos ito na nga ang Kasambahay Law, dagdag pahirap sa kawawang naghihirap ding amo. Noong unang panahon na naaapi pa ang mga kasambahay sa Pilipinas, kailangan ito. Sa Saudi o sa iba pang bansa kung saan naaapi ang mga kasambahay, kailangan ito. Pero dito sa ating Bayang Pilipinas, ngayon? “ Wala Sa Lugar O Sa Tamang Panahon”.    

      ________________________________

  3. Jech Gerero said

    Tama..sana pinag aralan munang mabuti ang Kasambahay Law…mabuti ang mga can afford talaga na mga employer na pag napalpak ang mga kasambahay in an instant pwedeng magpalit agad at hindi kalabisan sa kanila ang mga nagastos nila… pero karamihan ng may mga kasambahay ay mga government employees na kaya lang kumukuha ng kasambahay ay para may mapag-iwanan ng mga anak. Sana ini consider rin ang monthly income ng employer at sana may kaukulang penalty rin sa mga kasambahay na abusado. Sa dami ngayon ng nangangailangan ng kasambahay..maraming employer ang halos i pamper na ang mga kasambahay nila wag lang umalis sa kanila pero marami ngayong kasambahay ang mas maarte pa sa mga employer at maraming demands. Sa batas na ito na walang masyadong accountabilities ang mga kasambahay kundi karamihan ay benepisyo…mas marami ang mag-de-demand at mas magiging abusado..at maraming employer ang mas nanaisin pang huwag ng kumuha ng kasambahay o ang iba ay mag resign na lang sa trabaho para sila na lang ang mag-alaga sa kanilang mga anak. Sa batas na ito..mas mahirap ang kalagayan ng mga employer na hindi pangkaraniwang trabahador lang dahil sila 8 hours na nagtratrabaho ng todo todo sa kani kanilang mga opisina o pagawaan samantalang ang kanilang kasambahay ay mas nakapagpapahinga pa sa loob ng bahay ng mga pinamamasukan…habang wala ang amo…pa relax relax lang.

  4. butalidnl said

    one thing I note about the comments so far, is that they were made by people who apparently didn’t read (or understand) the post itself.

  5. Reasonable Man said

    You write like an idiot!

  6. Not our fault said

    It’s not our fault the writer of this blog entry is poor & can’t afford domestic help. Nonetheless, they should refrain from presuming to know whether or not households need help in the first place. If we don’t hire kasambahay, that creates a bigger dilemma because it will convert into a situation of more beggars & ultimately, a more uneducated population. Employers help out their helpers’ kids through schooling & see to it that they have a roof over their head. Most recently, we purchased a bed for one of our non stay-in help because we found out his had broken through gossip in the household. Employers provide jobs & making an underlying suggestion that households shouldn’t hire one because they don’t need it is only going to keep this country in poverty.

  7. Jeremy said

    “But when they do hire a kasambahay, they could not afford to pay them properly, and the working conditions would often be bad (e.g. cramped sleeping quarters, bad food, long work hours).”

    First off, they are workers…employees…wage-earners. These people are not your in-laws. Would you put your secretary in a 5-star hotel? Probably not. Would you put your in-laws in a 5-star hotel? MAYBE. It should not be the employer’s responsibility to house these people with glamour. The employer has worked, earned, and paid for the square meters they have been able to obtain, and that should not be taken away because you think the workers should have more cozy spaces. If I were to become an employee, I wouldn’t expect a million square meters, I would be thankful for any space that had a food over it because I’m NOT paying rent. But, you’ve brought up an interesting point! Maybe we should start charging the workers rent!! Then we’ll be gaining our losses back. If you rent a room, you’re required to pay, why not them?? Of course I don’t actually feel this way, but you cannot expect to be an employee and have your boss give you a nice little home to lounge in. You’re lucky it has 4 walls. Nonetheless, a cramped space is better than what most of us had in college!

    Bad food? Am I going to shower my workers with steak? Well, funny thing is that I actually do give my workers ribeye, and New York strips when I grill out. Nonetheless, that’s me. Not every worker should be entitled to, nor should every employer be required to provide the workers with good food. As a matter of fact, it should be seen as a luxury. Many workers around the world have to pay for their lunch hour meals & aren’t paid for the time they they eat. If it’s bad, who cares!? Unless you’re feeding them rotten food! Ever eaten in a cafeteria before? It’s not great, but it’s serviceable. That’s the way it should be. You’re providing a job, money, a chance at a better life, but you SHOULDN’T be required to hold people’s hands. If they want, they can take their wages and invest. You can’t be your own family’s breadwinner & their’s too!

    As far as long hours go, if they want to work the OT, and you need them to, then PAY the fair amount of OT with an extra merienda and maybe a coffee in there as well. If they don’t want to, don’t force them.

    Too many workers nowadays take advantage & those that can’t afford household help like this poster refuse to see the damaging effects of giving the employee more power the employer. If they don’t like their job, they can ALWAYS quit. If they can’t find another job, that’s their problem. I’m personally tired of babying people

  8. gerardo mariano said

    June 25, 2013

    How I wish to reply right away to your comment made after Jech’s comment concurring with my view. I’m sorry that I could only reply now because of time constraint and that I’m almost always too exhausted because even at my old age, I still am trying my luck to earn a little living.

    Your comment dated May 24, 2013, “ one thing I note about comments so far, is that they were made by people who apparently didn’t read ( or understand ) the post itself. With due respect, I should say “ It’s the other way around “. If you have read “ Kasambahay Law: Wala Sa Lugar, Wala Sa Tamang Panahon “ and understood its message then you should have realized that your message on your original post is not applicable to the current Philippine Situation. Please find the following points:
    1) In the Philippines, if you have small children or aging parents to take care of and your working, then a kasambahay is really indispensable cause currently we don’t have a Day Care Home or a Home For The Aged. And even if this may be made available later on, it may most likely be at a prohibitive cost, given the Philippine Economic Situation where the prices of basic necessities, commodities, services, etc. are too high and there seems to be a never ending increases in its prices while generally salaries or incomes are too low.
    2) We have too many household chores that should be done and yet we don’t have the sophisticated household gadgets that advanced countries have and even if this may be made available, these may be of very prohibitive cost, given the Economic Situation already mentioned above, thereby making these still beyond our reach.
    3) Buying cooked foods, hiring a laundrywoman and/or other househelpers on a weekly basis may be too costly, given the same reason above.
    4) In the “ Kasambahay Law: Wala Sa Lugar, Wala Sa Tamang Panahon “, I had discussed the general behavior or attitude of the present kasambahays which the employers are forced to accept or tolerate lest they may lose this indispensable househelp. The keen shortage on kasambahays also enable them to demand their own prices. In other words the present situation is such that the odds are on their side.

    So, why a need for a Kasambahay Law? On the contrary, this law will most likely encourage further the kasambahays to be more abusive at the expense of the poor employer. Hopefully this will not be so cause if it will be, then this will only add up too the many unreasonable laws, rules and regulations in the Philippnes like the Lina’s Law On Squatting and the Pangilinan’s Law On Juvenile Delinquency which instead of promoting the general welfare, creates chaos, disorders and irrationalities.

    It really makes me wonder why our lawmakers and other government officials have the penchant in making laws, rules and regulations such as that mentioned above instead of making laws, rules, regulations, systems and mechanism which will address the urgent and real problems of our country today, particularly: 1) the above reiterated Philippine Economic Situation wherein the prices of the basic necessities, commodities, services, etc are too high and its increases are never ending while salaries or incomes are just too low. 2) Squatting Problems. 3) Juvenile Heinous Delinquencies. 4) and many others. No wonder our country is in a very sorry state. But of course, these are already of different topics and should be reserved for such appropriate forums. Therefore I must say for now, Till Then.

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