I have recently employed two house helpers. I understand that there is now a law covering the employment of house helpers. Should I immediately secure their SSS membership? Can I terminate their services if I encountered problems with them?
Republic Act No. 10361 or the Batas Kasambahay was enacted to afford protection to the rights of the house helpers in the performance of their work. The law obligates household employers to observe certain rules and regulations regarding the working conditions of the house helpers such as giving them daily and weekly rest period, prohibition on the assignment to non-household work, and ensuring the health and safety of the house helpers. It also sets the minimum wage for house helpers and grants them social and other benefits.
Under Section 30 of the Batas Kasambahay, a house helper who has rendered at least one (1) month of service shall be covered by the Social Security System (SSS), the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth), and the Home Development Mutual Fund or PAG-IBIG, and shall be entitled to all the benefits in accordance with the pertinent provisions provided by law. Premium payments or contributions shall be shouldered by the employer. However, if the domestic worker is receiving a wage of five thousand pesos (P5,000.00) and above per month, the domestic worker shall pay the proportionate share in the premium payments or contributions, as provided by law. Any employer who committed any violation of the provisions of this law shall be imposed with a fine of not less than ten thousand pesos (P10,000.00) but not more than forty thousand pesos (P40,000.00) without prejudice to the filing of appropriate civil or criminal action by the aggrieved party (Section 40, RA 10361).
The Batas Kasambahay also sets the guidelines in terminating the service of the house helpers. As a rule, neither the domestic worker nor the employer may terminate the contract of employment before the expiration except for grounds provided for in the law. Section 34 of the said law enumerates the instances when the household employer may terminate the services of the house helper:
“SEC. 34. Termination Initiated by the Employer. – An employer may terminate the services of the domestic worker at any time before the expiration of the contract, for any of the following causes:
(a) Misconduct or willful disobedience by the domestic worker of the lawful order of the employer in connection with the former’s work;
(b) Gross or habitual neglect or inefficiency by the domestic worker in the performance of duties;
(c) Fraud or willful breach of the trust reposed by the employer on the domestic worker;
(d) Commission of a crime or offense by the domestic worker against the person of the employer or any immediate member of the employer’s family;
(e) Violation by the domestic worker of the terms and conditions of the employment contract and other standards set forth under this law;
(f) Any disease prejudicial to the health of the domestic worker, the employer, or member/s of the household; and
(g) Other causes analogous to the foregoing.”
We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts that you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.