Atienza bill seeks to punish employment agencies for deploying house helpers with criminal record

Published November 3, 2020, 6:18 PM

by Ben Rosario

If a “kasambahay” (house helper) is found guilty of theft, the employment agency that deployed him or her shall be held civilly liable under a bill pending in the House of Representatives.

Buhay Partylist Rep. Lito Atienza

Buhay Partylist Rep. Lito Atienza batted for the passage of this measure as he underscored the need to make employment agencies more responsible in endorsing for employment applicants for domestic service.

Atienza filed House Bill 1116 proposing that a private employment agency (PEA) may be held civilly liable for any financial losses suffered by the employer due to criminal offenses committed by domestic helpers the PEA endorsed.

“The PEA’s “joint and solidary liability” will cease to exist after one year from the date the house helper commenced work with the employer,” lHB 1116 provided.

“The risk of having to pay for losses will compel every PEA to thoroughly vet all individuals recommended for employment as house helpers,” Atienza said.

He noted: “Right now, PEAs do not have any incentive to vet applicants, so their agency services are getting exploited by shady characters and even by theft and robbery syndicates preying on households.”

The partylist solon disclosed that  a family member had been victimized by a newly hired house helper endorsed by an agency.

Under HB 1116, all PEAs registered with Department of Labor and Employment will be obligated to ensure that:

–The applicant house helper does not have any criminal or derogatory record as evidenced by up-to-date National Bureau Investigation, police and barangay clearances;

— The applicant’s place of origin and residence is authenticated by a barangay certification of actual residency and good moral character;

— The applicant’s family background is established by a birth certificate and the marriage certificate of the parents, as well as the home addresses and contact numbers of immediate family members; and

— The applicant’s place of residence and family background is verified by due diligence; and that

The bill seeks to amend Republic Act 10361, or the Domestic Workers’ Act (Batas Kasambahay).