I currently employ several household helpers in our home in Manila. Most of them are from far-flung provinces. In order to get their services, I usually pay for their transportation expenses, which include their food for the trip and financial allowance they need for the trip going to Manila. Since I hire several of them, the expenses I accumulate to get them here from their provinces are pretty prohibitive. Because of this I am wondering if I could charge these transportation expenses to their salary by deducting a portion of such expenses from their monthly wage until they could pay it completely. Is this legal? Please advise me on this matter. Thank you, and Godspeed!
The nature of the expenses you mentioned in transporting your household helpers from their respective provinces to your home can be considered as deployment expenses. Republic Act (RA) 10361, or the Domestic Workers Act or Batas Kasambahay defines deployment expenses as:
“…expenses that are directly used for the transfer of the Kasambahay from place of origin to the place of work covering the cost of transportation, meals, communication expense and other incidental expenses. xxx” (Rule 1, Section 3c, Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 10361, Emphasis supplied).
Considering this, the expenses you incurred for the hiring of your kasambahay that include expenses for their transportation, food and other related expenses fall under the above-mentioned definition of deployment expenses.
With regard to the charging of the deployment expenses of a kasambahay, the law has an express provision regarding this concern, to wit:
“Section 3. Deployment Expenses. – The employer, whether the kasambahay is hired directly or through [an employment agency], shall pay the expenses directly used for his/her transfer from place of origin to the place of work.
The employer may recover deployment costs from the kasambahay whenever he/she leaves without justifiable reason within six (6) months from employment.”
As stated in this provision, employers are generally the ones who are obligated to directly shoulder the deployment expenses of their household helpers. Because of this rule, you cannot charge your household helpers nor deduct from their wages the deployment expenses you incurred for their transportation to your home. The law generally does not allow such arrangement of salary deduction from the household helpers for the deployment expenses.
This, however, does not preclude the employer from recovering the deployment expenses in certain cases. Such cases, according to the aforementioned law, is when the kasambahay unjustly leaves the employer within six (6) months from employment. In this situation, the employer may rightfully recover the deployment expenses from the kasambahay. Thus, you may only charge and claim the deployment expenses from your household helpers should they leave under the aforementioned circumstances.
Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.
We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.
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