HOR COMPLEX, Quezon City (DWDD) – The House committee on labor and employment has approved the proposed “Caregivers Welfare Act” that seeks to institute policies for the protection of the rights of caregivers in the country and promotion of their welfare.
Approved by the committee chaired by Rep. Randolph S. Ting (3rd District, Cagayan) is House Bill 269 authored by Rep. Geraldine B. Roman (1st District, Bataan) which also seeks to ensure the policies will maintain excellent and globally competitive standards for the caregiver professional service.
“In recognition of the very important role of caregivers in national development, policies in the practice of the caregiving profession must be instituted to protect our caregivers from abuse, harassment, violence and economic exploitation,” said Roman, a vice chairperson of the committees on women and gender equality, and on veterans affairs and benefits.
Roman said professional and responsive caregiving is vital to medically and physically challenged individuals. “The country’s aging population, the increase in the number of children born with medical issues and prevalent illnesses are the reasons why the demand for caregiving service continues to rise in the country,” said Roman.
The lawmaker said many countries, such as the United States, Canada and those in the Middle East, Europe and even Asia like Japan and Korea prefer Filipino caregivers because of their unconditional and genuine care for their clients.
The sudden rise in the popularity of professional caregivers in the country and abroad has prompted the government to require all caregiving schools in the country to register their program with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
She said the TESDA is tasked to manage and supervise technical education and skills development, so that each caregiver who will be working here and abroad will be equipped with the all the skills needed to perform the job properly and efficiently.
The bill refers to a caregiver as “a graduate of a caregiving course from an accredited training institution that is recognized by the government, or is certified competent by that same institution, and renders caregiving services.”
It further provides that before the start of a caregiver’s service, an employment contract shall be executed by and between the caregiver and the employer in a language or dialect understood by both parties.
A copy of the duly signed employment contract shall be given to the caregiver which shall include the following: duties and responsibilities of the caregiver; period of employment; compensation; authorized deductions; hours of work and proportionate additional payment; rest days and allowable leaves; board, lodging and medical attention; termination of employment; and any other lawful condition agreed upon by both parties.
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) shall develop a model employment contract for caregivers which shall be made available at all times and free of charge to caregivers, employers and the general public.
In case where the employment of the caregiver is facilitated through a private employment agency, the Private Employment Agency (PEA) shall keep a copy of all employment contracts of their caregivers, to be made available for verification and inspection by the DOLE.
Prior to the execution of the employment contract, the employer may require the following: caregiver’s training certificate issued by the school or institution accredited by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA); medical certificate or health certificate issued by a local government health officer; and barangay and police clearance.
The caregiver’s working hours shall be based on the employment contract signed by the parties and in accordance with the labor rules, laws and regulations. Them caregiver shall be entitled to an aggregate rest period of eight hours per day and 24 hours per week.
The minimum wage of the caregiver shall not be less than the following : P7,000 a month for those employed in the National Capital Region (NCR): P5,500 a month for those employed in chartered cities and first-class municipalities; and P4,000 a month for those employed in other municipalities.
A year after the effectivity of the Act, the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) shall review and adjust the minimum wage rates for caregivers.
A caregiver who has rendered one month of service shall be covered by the SocialSecurity System (SSS), the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), and the Home Development Mutual Fund or Pag-IBIG, and shall be entitled to all benefits based on the law.
The PEA shall ensure that the caregivers are not charged or levied any recruitment or placement fees; assist caregivers on grievances or complaints against their employers; cooperate with government agencies in rescue operations involving abused or exploited caregivers; and ensure employment contract between the caregivers and their employers stipulates conditions of employments and all the benefits prescribed by the Act. CONGRESS / MCAG