Nephew in foster family set-up excluded from ‘Kasambahay Law’


Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
I brought my 15-year-old nephew to Manila because I want to help him finish his studies. His father, who is a drunkard and jobless, agreed when I obtained his consent or permission that his son will stay with me and I will shoulder his tuition and allowances until such time that he graduates. The first year of such arrangement went well and my nephew excelled in his class, so I gave him extra money as a reward aside from his regular allowance. I found out later that my brother is getting the money or allowance I am giving to his son in order to finance his vice. My brother and I had a fight when I confronted him about getting what I have been giving my nephew. He forced the boy to go with him when he went back to the province.

Last week, I was surprised to know that he filed a complaint against me before barangay authorities, alleging that I violated provisions of the Kasambahay Law because I did not give any wage to my nephew while the latter was working for me as a kasambahay (servant). Am I liable for violation of this law?

Dear Bambam,
A kasambahay or domestic worker is defined under Section 4(d) of Republic Act 10361 (RA 10361) as “referring 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.”

Moreover, “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” (Ibid.)

Letter h, Section 4 of the same law states that working children refer “to domestic workers who are fifteen (15) years old and above but below eighteen (18) years old.”

In your nephew’s situation, it is very clear that he is not a kasambahay because he does not fall under the definition provided by law; instead, he falls squarely under the exclusion because of a foster family arrangement between you and your brother. Since your nephew is not a kasambahay, it consequently follows that he is not entitled to the minimum wage claimed by your brother.

Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.

We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.

Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to


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