MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has signed into law a measure that sets policies aimed at protecting the rights and welfare of domestic caregivers.
Marcos inked Republic Act (RA) 11965 or An Act Institutionalizing Policies for the Protection and Welfare of Caregivers in the Practice of their Occupation on Nov. 23, to protect the caregivers’ rights to have decent employment and income.
The new law, which was made public on Friday, also adheres to a policy of protecting caregivers against abuse, harassment, violence and economic exploitation.
“It is hereby declared the policy of the State to recognize the role of caregivers in national development and to institute policies in the practice in the occupation with the end in view of developing competent caregivers whose stands of professional service shall be excellent and globally competitive,” RA 11965 read.
RA 11965 covers caregivers employed and working within the country in private homes, nursing or care facilities and other residential settings, and caregivers whether directly hired by the employer or placed through the Public Employment Services Office (PESO) and Private Employment Agency (PEA).
Under the law, the caregivers’ working hours will be based on their employment contract and in accordance with labor laws, rules and regulations.
Caregivers will be entitled to an overtime pay for work beyond the daily eight working hours, and a night shift differential with a minimum wage not less than the applicable minimum wage in the region.
Their salaries should be paid on time once every two weeks or twice a month at intervals not exceeding 16 days, according to the law.
Caregivers who have rendered at least one month of service are also entitled to a 13th month pay, which will be paid not later than December 24 of every year, or upon separation from employment.
They should also be given a leave credit of at least five days with pay for those who have rendered at least one year of service.
They are also covered with other benefits such as contributions to the Social Security System, the Philippine Health Insurance Corp., and the Home Development Fund and to “all benefits in accordance with the pertinent provisions provided by law.”
A caregiver suffering from verbal or emotional abuse, inhumane treatment and physical abuse may terminate the contract at any time before its expiration.
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is tasked to promulgate the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Caregiver Act, in coordination with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and other concerned agencies for the effective implementation of the law.
The Department of Migrant Workers, in coordination with the DOLE, TESDA and other agencies, is mandated to issue the rules and regulations for the recruitment and deployment of Filipino caregivers for overseas employment to ensure their protection, including their reintegration.
RA 11966 takes effect 15 days upon publication in the Official Gazette, or at least two newspapers of general circulation. (PNA)