Employers urged to allow house helpers to study

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A lawmaker over the weekend called on employers to allow their house helps, who wish to pursue their education, to enroll and secure an academic diploma.

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Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Estrada, chairperson of the Senate committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development, said that under the recently-enacted Republic Act (RA) 10361 or the Kasambahay Law, employers must not deprive domestic workers, including nursemaids, cooks, gardeners, laundry persons and the like the right to education and training.

Estrada said that under Section 9, Article II of the law, employers “shall afford the domestic worker the opportunity to finish basic education and may allow access to alternative learning systems and as far as practicable, higher education or technical and vocational training.”

The law also provides that “the employer shall adjust the work schedule of the domestic worker to allow such access to education or training without hampering the services required by the employer.”

Estrada also stressed that the said privilege is even more relevant to working children aged 15 to 17 employed as a house helper.

“Let us not deprive our kasambahay [house helper]the opportunity to enroll in schools and acquire new knowledge and skills as a step towards a more productive, high-paying career in the future,” the senator added.

President Benigno Aquino 3rd signed Republic Act 10361 or “An Act Instituting Policies for the Protection and Welfare of Domestic Workers” on January 18, 2013, in a bid to ensure that household helpers receive fixed salaries and benefits.

Under the law, domestic workers will have a minimum salary of P2,500 a month in the National Capital Region; P2,000 a month in chartered cities and first class municipalities; and P1,500 a month for those employed in other municipalities.

They are also entitled to other social benefits provided under existing laws including the Social Security System, Philhealth, and Pag-Ibig Fund.

The premium payments will be shouldered by the employers if the monthly salary of helpers is below P5,000.

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