• Household helpers entitled to decent meals, sleeping quarters

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    Persida Acosta

    Persida Acosta

    Dear PAO,
    We hired a nanny for our four-year-old son. She has only been with us for a month and we are having difficulty with her. She complains almost about everything that I am beginning to wonder if she works for us as a nanny or she wants to be treated as a visitor. For instance, she complains that the foam of the bed which we have provided for her is too small. But it fits to a single bed, so there shouldn’t be any problem since she is the only one sleeping on it. She also complains about the food that we all eat, which is generally fish and vegetables. I am really considering ending our engagement with her but I would like to know first what adequate living standards are there for nannies, if there are any. Should my husband and I decide to terminate her, what rules should we follow? Your soonest response will be appreciated.
    Mariah

    Dear Mariah,
    Nannies, household helpers or kasambahay, as they are commonly known, are human beings too. Thus, they should be treated properly and humanely. Insofar as the lodging and meal provisions, the same must comply with the tenets of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 10361, otherwise known as the “Domestic WorkersAct” or “Batas Kasambahay.” As provided under Section 6 thereof:

    “The employer shall provide for the basic necessities of the domestic worker to include at least three adequate meals a day and humane sleeping arrangements that ensure safety.

    The employer shall provide appropriate rest and assistance to the domestic worker in case of illnesses and injuries sustained during service without loss of benefits.

    At no instance shall the employer withdraw or hold in abeyance the provision of these basic necessities as punishment or disciplinary action to the domestic worker.”

    In addition, the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of R. A. No. 10361 have set the standards of treatment to household helpers. Section 12, Rule IV of the said IRR explicitly states that the employer and the members of his or her household should treat the kasambahay with respect and shall not be subjected to any kind of abuse or any act which tends to degrade the dignity of the kasambahay.

    In your situation, there appears to be no violation of the aforementioned legal standards as long as your nanny is being made to sleep on a decent bed and she is given decent food. Perhaps, it would be prudent for you or your husband to talk to her and inquire whether she has allergies on the food you prefer. If she has none, simply explain to her that she is being given what is adequate under the law. It may not be too much; it may be simple, but it is enough to answer for her basic needs.

    Insofar as terminating the employment of your nanny, you must first take into consideration whether your employment contract has a specific period or term. If there is, then neither you nor your nanny may terminate the contract before the expiration of the term thereof, except for grounds provided for in Sections 33 and 34 of R. A. No. 10361. On the other hand, if there is no particular term for your contract with her, you may give her notice to end the working relationship five days before your intended date of termination of such service (Section 32, id.).

    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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