My opinion on the Kasambahay Bill

Friday, March 15, 2013

To be honest, I won't be adjusting much to the Kasambahay Bill because ever since (I learned from my mom) we've always given our helpers the SSS, PhilHealth and Pag-Ibig benefits that the current law requires.  Our (now, my mom's) helpers have enjoyed benefits from these three institutions, they were able to get Sickness benefits, refunds from PhilHealth and most importantly, they were able to borrow money.  So for the issue of the SSS, PhilHealth and Pag-ibig benefits - well, we already got it covered.

My issue with the Kasambahay Bill are the following:
a)  Required once a week day off
b)  The provision where you cannot deduct their 'utang' from their salaries
c)  The provision where you cannot deduct from their salaries if they break or destroy things
d)  Pre-Employment requirements (IDs, Birth & Baptismal Certificate, NBI Clearance, Medical Certificate)
e)  The 5 days notice that they will be leaving
f)  That deployment expenses cannot be deducted to their salaries if they leave you less than 6months

So let's discuss them one by one:

a)  Required once a week day off:
In all honesty, I really don't mind giving them a day off once a week.  The only problem I see with this is that, when the helper does not come back.  More often than not, when we allow them to go on a day off (especially if its overnight) they bring most of their things and then tell us that they will come back the following day, but then - they don't!

Since we are required to give them their salaries every 15th and 30th of the month - how should we hold the salaries?  Can we give them weekly?  I am confused on this because I am sure that when these helpers go out, they'd probably want/need some money for their expenses.  And I assure you, they would want to advance.

An issue my current Yaya told me was that - what if they only opt for the 1 day overnight day off - are they entitled for additional pay since they did away with the 'allowed' weekly day off?

b)  The provision where you cannot deduct their 'utang' from their salaries
This is actually not a problem for me, because I am very strict with my NO VALE, NO ADVANCE policy.  But I feel this is a problem for those employers who do lend and make advances to their helpers.  Here's a scenario:

Let's say you have Helper A, she told you that she has an emergency and she needs money.  You sympathize with her and give her 1 month's salary in advance.  Since the law requires that you give her a weekly day off - you allow her to go out with the assumption and personal assurance from her that she will come back.  Come next day - she doesn't show up.  What are you to do?

c)  The provision where you cannot deduct from their salaries if they break or destroys things
I understand that accidents happen.  But what it this accident happens OFTEN to the point of neglect already?  I am not saying that all helpers are not careful - but they sometimes don't care for our things because frankly - they are not theirs!  Like for example glasses, they deem that we have a lot of spare thus - they don't handle it with care!  Or let's say you have this labandera, who doesn't notice that a red sock is in a pile of white clothes to be laundered in the washing machine.  It was only when she cycle was done did she notice that everything is colored - pink!  What happens to those clothes?  If this happens, once - I can understand, but if it becomes a habit - well, are you just supposed to swallow all those pink clothes?

d)  Pre-Employment requirements (IDs, Birth & Baptismal Certificate, NBI Clearance, Medical Certificate)
Come on and be honest - do all of our househelp have the proper IDs on them?  They most of the time do not even have a birth certificate!  So how are we supposed to require them to get such?!  Plus, these certificates and clearances are not free - and their main purpose to work is to earn and even before they earn - they're already spending on these things.  We as the employers do our part and most of the time give in to shouldering all these costs - but what happens if they leave?  We can't withold their IDs and certificates right?  So - there, money down the drain, again!

e)  The 5 days notice that they will be leaving
Helpers have this nasty habit of not telling you the truth that they are leaving simply because they fear that you will not allow them to.  Personally - I am not like that, I am quite easy to talk to.  Just tell me truth of why you want to leave and I will not force you to stay.  Why force someone to say?  You'll just incur expenses and feed their tummies full!   They will tell you with promises that they will come back, even if they know that they won't.  As I always tell the helpers who go on a day off - to just say their honest intentions - that they will not come back, so we can immediately look for a replacement.

f)  That deployment expenses cannot be deducted to their salaries if they leave you less than 6months
We often shoulder their traveling expenses coming to us.  But what if they just use you to come to Manila?  This happened to a friend of mine - she was looking for a helper, and this helper said that she needed transportation expense - she asked to wire the money to her, so that she will be able to travel to Manila.  Thus, my friend wires her the money - and true enough, she comes and works for her - for only a few days then declares that she can't stand the work load and demands to leave.  My friend found out a few days later that she just agreed to work for her so that she can come to Manila to work for somebody else.  Based on the law - you cannot hold helpers in debt bondage.  So what happens to the transportation expense?  Are we just supposed to swallow it and smile? 

I think this part of the law should be rethought - IF the helper stays with you for at least 6 months, then I don't think you should still deduct her deployment expense, because at least - she stayed with you for 6 months and was able to help you out.  I say, that transportation expenses SHOULD be deducted in the first month and then REFUNDED after let's say at least 3 months.  Para fair diba?

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