Fees paid by employer to recruiter should not be charged to maid

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Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
Life is so hard here in our province, so my eldest daughter went to Manila to seek employment as a househelper since she did not even finish secondary education. Fortunately, she was immediately deployed by one employment agency. On her second month of work as a househelper, she called me and complained that her employer allegedly deducted the fees he paid to the recruitment agency from her salary. May I know if this is legal?
Ben

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Dear Ben,
Pursuant to Section 4 (d) of Republic Act 10361(RA 10361), a domestic worker or kasambahay refers to any person engaged in domestic work within an employment relationship such as, but not limited to, the following: general househelp, nursemaid or yaya, cook, gardener or laundry person, but shall exclude any person who performs domestic work only occasionally or sporadically and not on an occupational basis.

“The term shall not include children who are under foster family arrangement, and are provided access to education and given an allowance incidental to education, i.e. baon, transportation, school projects and school activities.”

A kasambahay like your daughter is entitled to her wages without any deduction other than those authorized by law. Section 25 of the same law specifically provides, “Payment of wages shall be made on time directly to the domestic worker to whom they are due in cash at least once a month. The employer, unless allowed by the domestic worker through a written consent, shall make no deductions from the wages other than that which is mandated by law. No employer shall pay the wages of a domestic worker by means of promissory notes, vouchers, coupons, tokens, tickets, chits or any object other than the cash wage as provided for under this law.

“The domestic worker is entitled to a thirteenth month pay as provided for by law.”

In relation thereto, Section 13 of the law also states that “regardless of whether the domestic worker was hired through a private employment agency or a third party, no share in the recruitment or finder’s fees shall be charged against the domestic worker by the said private employment agency or third party.”

The act of the employer in deducting from your daughter’s wage the fees he paid to the recruitment agency is a clear violation of the above-mentioned provisions of law; hence, a complaint may be filed by your daughter before the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), which has jurisdiction over the workplace subject to the mandatory DOLE Single Entry Approach (Section 1, Rule XI, DOLE IRR of RA 10361).

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 dearpao@manilatimes.net.

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