My aunt has taken care of me since I was nine years old because my parents have been working in Manila. Since I am now 18 years old and in college, she decided to try her luck in Manila and find work as a household helper. Our former neighbor in the province, who is in Manila and is also working as a helper, offered her a job as a yaya because her employer’s friend was looking for a helper. But she said her employer’s friend wants her to submit a police clearance and medical certificate. She wants to know if these are really necessary. My aunt was also told she may have to prepare P3,000.00 as a deposit to her employer, in case she damages anything in their house. I hope you can give us advice on this.
The rights of domestic workers such as household helpers, yaya, cooks, gardeners or laundry persons who perform domestic work on a regular basis are protected under our laws, particularly under Republic Act (RA) 10361, or the Domestic Workers Act or Batas Kasambahay.
Pursuant thereto, household employers are mandated to provide for the basic necessities of their domestic workers, as well as afford them humane treatment all throughout the period of their employment. This includes their daily and weekly rest periods, means to ensure their safety, and compliance with the required minimum wage as well as other statutory benefits (Sections 5, 6, 20, 21, 25, 29 and 30, Ibid.).
This notwithstanding, employers are allowed to exercise a degree of safeguard before employing domestic workers. In fact, RA 10361 allows employers, prior to the execution of the employment contract, to require from the domestic helper the submission of a medical certificate or health certificate issued by a local government health officer, barangay and police clearance, National Bureau of Investigation clearance, and a duly authenticated birth certificate or if not available, any other document such as voter’s identification card, baptismal record or passport that can show the age of the domestic worker. But the costs of these documents shall all be borne by the prospective employer or agency, as the case may be (Section 12, Id.). Thus, we find nothing unlawful or illegal as regards the request by the prospective employer to submit a police clearance and medical certificate.
However, requiring her to make a deposit is contrary to law, and your aunt may very well decline such demand. Pursuant to Section 14 of RA 0361: “It shall be unlawful for the employer or any other person to require a domestic worker to make deposits from which deductions shall be made for the reimbursement of loss or damage to tools, materials, furniture and equipment in the household.”
We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to email@example.com