The Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) said of the 1.4 million Filipinos working as “kasambahays” in the country, about 4 percent or more than 40,000 are child domestic workers aged below 18 years old.
National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC) Executive Director Criselda Sy revealed this on Wednesday citing the October 2019 survey of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
In an online forum, she said, less than 1 percent or about 5,000 of the child domestic workers are below 15 years old.
The same statistics also showed a high incidence of child domestic labor in the female sector whereas 95.2 percent or 4, 732 are female and 4.8 percent or 237 are males.
DOLE’s Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns (BWSC) Director Karina Perida-Trayvilla, meantime, reminded the public that the Kasambahay Law strictly prohibits employing minors, or those who are below 15 years old, as domestic workers because it is considered a clear form of child labor and exploitation.
Republic Act No. 10361 or the Kasambahay Law states that it is unlawful to employ children under the age of 15. It is also illegal to withhold their wages and benefits and require them to make deposits for loss or damaged items in the household, and placing them on debt bondage.
“If employers are proven guilty of employing minors as kasambahay, they can be penalized with a fine ranging from P10,000 to P40,000. These penalties are on top of the civil and criminal charges that can be filed against the employers under the R.A. 9231 or the act on the elimination of the worst forms of child labor,” Trayvilla said.
She also reminded employers that kasambahay, which are now categorized the formal sector worker, should be registered with SSS, Philhealth, and Pag-IBIG, and are entitled to a weekly 24-hour rest period, and annual days annual service incentive leave with pay.
Trayvilla underscored the importance of having a contract of employment or a written agreement between the kasambahay and their employers to specify the scope of work and benefits of the domestic worker.
The contract, Trayvilla added, should be deposited in the barangay which has the jurisdiction of the workplace and a report should be submitted to the nearest DoLE regional office to monitor the compliance of their employers with the law.
The Labor department urged kasambahay who are experiencing abuse or would like to report their employers for labor laws violations to visit the nearest DoLE regional offices throughout the country or call the DoLE Hotline 1349.