DOLE Secretary Baldoz supports Kasambahay Bill

Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday lauded the House Committee on Labor and Employment for its decisive action in approving the committee report on the consolidated Kasambahay Bill, which seeks to provide a comprehensive package of benefits to household workers.
“I commend all the members of the House Committee on Labor and Employment for finally giving its approval to the report of the committee on House Bill [HB] 1815, or the domestic worker’s bill,” Baldoz said, adding that the approval is another step toward the enactment of a law that will empower household workers through better salaries and other social benefits.
The approval paves the way for the bill to be approved on the third and final reading by the House of Representatives in plenary.
Baldoz’s comment was timely as the country winds down its commemoration of the women’s month celebration this March.
The Kasambahay Bill, a consolidation of five related legislative measures principally authored by Democratic Independent Workers’ Alliance party-list Representative Emmeline Aglipay, Cavite Rep. Lani Mercado-Revilla, Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco, San Juan Rep. Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito, and Ilocos Sur Rep. Ryan Luis Singson, is one of 24 legislative proposals certified urgent by President Benigno S. Aquino III.
Baldoz expressed hope that the measure will be enacted into law before the year ends, saying she no longer sees any impediment toward the bill’s final passage.
“I trust that our lawmakers knew the importance of passing the measure,” Baldoz said.
Following the approval at the committee level, the committee report on the measure will be referred to the Committee on Rules headed by majority leader and Mandaluyong Rep. Neptali Gonzales II. It will be the Gonzales committee that will calendar HB 1815 for plenary debates.
The Kasambahay Bill seeks to benefit domestic workers numbering to about 1.93–2.5 million. It will entitle household workers to 13th month pay, 14-day paid vacation, and maternity or paternity leave, among other benefits.
“I see every compelling reason why the House in its wisdom could muster enough political will to grant its seal of approval over a piece of social legislation like the Kasambahay Bill. The measure will benefit an estimated two million household workers in the country. It will enhance their welfare and grant them the status of regular workers. It will also affirm our global leadership in being the leading proponent of setting new standards for domestic workers’ protection,” Baldoz explained.
The Kasambahay Bill, the DOLE explained, sets minimum standards for the employment of domestic helpers following the adoption of International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 189, which sets new international standards for the protection of domestic workers and the promotion of their rights and welfare.
ILO Convention 189 defines domestic work as work performed in or for a household. Although the new instrument covers all domestic workers, it also provides for special measures to protect those workers who, because of their young age, nationality, or live-in status, may be exposed to additional risks relative to their peers, among others.
According to ILO Convention 189, household workers should be given “reasonable working hours, weekly rest of at least 24 consecutive hours, clear information on terms and conditions of employment, as well as respect for fundamental principles, including freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining.”
The Senate has earlier approved its own version of the Kasambahay Bill and is just waiting for its counterpart in the House of Representatives.