Legal grounds to pre-terminate domestic employment

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Persida Acosta

Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
My childhood friend from Bataan currently works as a household helper. She agreed with her employer that she will be with them until June of this year. Is there any way for her to end the contract earlier than their agreed date? I hope you can advise us. Thank you and more power.
Celest

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Dear Celest,
What exists between a house helper and his or her employer is a contract of employment. Being a contract, the same is entered into by both parties and must be complied with in good faith.

Considering that your friend and her employer both agreed that the former will remain under the employ of the latter until June of this year, your friend is bound to render service for the entire duration of the period of their contract, unless they come to another agreement terminating such employment prior to the expiration of such agreed period. This is in consonance with Section 32 of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 10361, otherwise known as the “Domestic Workers Act” or “Batas Kasambahay,” which provides that:

“Neither the domestic worker nor the employer may terminate the contract before the expiration of the term except for grounds provided for in Sections 33 and 34 of this Act. If the domestic worker is unjustly dismissed, the domestic worker shall be paid the compensation already earned plus the equivalent of fifteen (15) days work by way of indemnity. If the domestic worker leaves without justifiable reason, any unpaid salary due not exceeding the equivalent of fifteen (15) days work shall be forfeited. In addition, the employer may recover from the domestic worker costs incurred related to the deployment expenses, if any: Provided, that the service has been terminated within six (6) months from the domestic worker’s employment.

The domestic worker and the employer may mutually agree upon written notice to pre-terminate the contract of employment to end the employment relationship.”

However, your friend may pre-terminate her domestic employment at any time before the expiration of her employment contract if it is based on any of the causes mentioned under Section 32 of R.A. No. 10361, to wit: (a) Verbal or emotional abuse of the domestic worker by the employer or any member of the household; (b) Inhuman treatment including physical abuse of the domestic worker by the employer or any member of the household; (c) Commission of a crime or offense against the domestic worker by the employer or any member of the household; (d) Violation by the employer of the terms and conditions of the employment contract and other standards set forth under this law; (e) Any disease prejudicial to the health of the domestic worker, the employer, or member/s of the household; and (f) 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 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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