House approves on 2nd reading bill protecting caregivers

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THE HOUSE of Representatives has approved on second reading a bill instituting policies for the protection and welfare of caregivers.

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House Bill 6396, or the Caregivers Welfare Act, will give a caregiver the right to terminate a contract when:

* there is physical, verbal or emotional abuse;

* an employer, client or a member of the household commits a crime or offense against the caregiver;

* the employer violates the terms and conditions of caregiver’s contract and other similar causes.

The bill, which was passed on Tuesday, will also entitle the caregiver who has served the employer for at least a year an annual service incentive leave of at least five days with pay.

The caregiver will also be covered by the benefits of the Social Security System (SSS), the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) and the Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-IBIG).

The minimum wage in the region shall also be followed.

An employer will also have the power to terminate the services of the caregiver on the grounds of:

* misconduct or disobedience of the lawful order of the employer;

* negligence, fraud or wilful breach of trust;

* commission of crime, violation of terms and conditions as stated in the employment contract and similar offenses.

Rep. Geraldine Roman of Bataan, principal author of the bill, said the country’s aging population, the rising birth rate and prevalent illnesses were the reasons why there was an increase in the demand for caregivers in the country.

Rep. Jericho Jonas Nograles of the PBA Party-List, said the important role of caregivers in national development must also be recognized, and policies in the practice of the caregiving profession must be instituted to protect caregivers from abuse and exploitation. RALPH EDWIN U. VILLANUEVA

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