Finally, the House of Representatives approved the House Bill No. 6144 otherwise known as the Kasambahay Bill, which was also approved by the Senate two years ago.
In a press statement, Senator Loren Legarda hailed the approval, which she said, their version of Senate Bill 78, approved by the Senate last December 2010.
“The House of Representatives approved House Bill 6144 with 176 in favor and none against. This overwhelming support, coupled with the Senate’s recent ratification of the International Labour Organization Convention 189 or the Convention Concerning Decent Work for Domestic Workers, heralds the dawn of better lives for the 1.9 million domestic workers in the country, and the 1.5 million more abroad,” she explained.
Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, noted that the Senate concurred in the ratification of ILO Convention 189 last August 6, and that it has been officially announced that the Philippines is the second country to ratify the convention after Uruguay in June 2012.
“As ILO 189 will come into force 12 months after two ILO member-states have ratified it, the Philippines should be justly proud of playing a significant role in improving the employment conditions of kasambahays worldwide. And now, with the Kasambahay Act approved by both Houses of Congress, we can begin guaranteeing that kasambahays in the Philippines are treated as workers, not servants,” she said.
“Under ILO Convention 189, contracts between the employer and the domestic worker will become a requirement. The contract will state the domestic worker’s salary, work hours, day-offs, vacations, and, for those abroad, the duration of the employment. This Convention also ensures that domestic workers are able to keep in their possession their travel and identity documents,” she remarked.
Legarda, a staunch supporter of the establishment of the rights of domestic workers, added that these rights are the foundation of inclusive growth that the Philippines as a nation aspire for. Among the Senator’s first bills filed in the Fifteenth Congress was Senate Bill 7, which sought to increase the minimum wage of household helpers and require all household working arrangements between employers and helpers to be duly documented.
“I am truly glad that we have taken such major steps in according decent working conditions, just compensation, and sufficient benefits to our domestic workers, and with the approval of the proposed Kasambahay Act by both Houses of Congress, I am hopeful that its enactment into law will happen very soon,” Legarda concluded.
Meanwhile, sources said President Benigno Simeon Aquino III is expected to sign the bill before the year ends.