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Employing minors as kasambahay illegal — DOLE

AS the government sustains its campaign to eliminate the worst forms of child labor, the Department of Labor and Employment yesterday reminded households that it is unlawful to employ minors as domestic workers.

Director Karina Perida-Trayvilla, of the DOLE’s Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns, said the Kasambahay Law strictly prohibits employing minors, or those who are below 15 years old, as domestic workers because it is considered a clear form of child labor and exploitation.

“If employers are proven guilty of employing minors as kasambahay, they can be penalized with a fine ranging from P10,000 to P40,000. These penalties are on top of the civil and criminal charges that can be filed against the employers under the R.A. 9231 or the act on the elimination of the worst forms of child labor,” she said.

Republic Act No. 10361 or the Kasambahay Law states that it is unlawful to employ children under the age of 15. It is also illegal to withhold their wages and benefits and require them to make deposits for loss or damaged items in the household, and placing them on debt bondage.

Meanwhile, National Wages and Productivity Commission Executive Director Criselda Sy said there are about 1,400,132 domestic household workers in the country, citing the October 2019 survey of the Philippine Statistics Authority.

Of the number, about 4 percent or more than 40,000 of them are child domestic workers age 18 and below, and less than 1 percent or about 5,000 are below 15 years old.

The same statistics also showed a high incidence of child domestic labor in the female sector with 95.2 percent or 4, 732 female and 4.8 percent or 237 male.

The labor department has also intensified the monitoring of compliance of employers with the kasambahay law, particularly on the minimum wage which was set by the DOLE-NWPC.

Trayvilla reminded employers that kasambahays, which are now categorized the formal sector worker, should be registered with SSS, Philhealth, and Pag-IBIG, and are entitled to a weekly 24-hour rest period, and annual service incentive leave with pay.

She underscored the importance of having a contract of employment or a written agreement between the kasambahay and their employers to specify the scope of work and benefits of the domestic worker.

The contract, Trayvilla added, should be deposited in the barangay which has the jurisdiction of the workplace and a report should be submitted to the nearest DOLE regional office to monitor the compliance of their employers with the law.

The DOLE also urged kasambahays, who would like to report abuses or labor laws violations by their employers, to visit the nearest DOLE regional offices throughout the country or call the DOLE Hotline 1349.