Domestic workers in Eastern Visayas get wage hike

The Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB) in Region 8 (Eastern Visayas) has approved a new wage order, Kasambahay Wage Order No. RB VIII-01, prescribing new minimum wage rates for domestic workers in Eastern Visayas.

Region 8 is the fourth region, after the Cordillera Administrative Region, Region 4-A, and Region 6, to raise the minimum wage of kasambahay after R.A. No. 10361, entitled An Act Instituting Policies for the Protection and Welfare of Domestic Workers or “Batas Kasambahay,” took effect on February 10, 2013.

According to the kasambahay wage order, the minimum wage rates in Eastern Visayas upon the order’s effectivity is P2,500 per month in chartered cities and first class municipalities and P2,000 per month in other municipalities.

The National Wages and Productivity Commission has still to review the order.

Process of minimum wage increase

Section 24 of R.A. 10361 sets the minimum wage rates of domestic workers to P2,000 a month for those employed in chartered cities and first class municipalities, and P1,500 a month for those employed in other municipalities, and mandates the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards to review, and if proper, determine and adjust, the minimum wage rates of domestic workers one year from the law’s effectivity and periodically thereafter.

The RTWPB VIII, as mandated by R.A. No. 6727, or the Wage Rationalization Act, periodically assesses wage rates and conduct continuing studies in the determination of the minimum wage applicable in a region or industry. In arriving at its decision, it conducted: a random survey in all provinces and key cities in the region from September 1-10, 2015; a public consultation in Maasin City on December 10, 2015; a validation survey in Catarman, Northern Samar on January 29, 2016; and a public hearing in Tacloban City on February 4, 2016.

“The results of the surveys, consultations, and public hearing, as well as review of economic indicators, revealed the need to grant relief to kasambahay’s minimum wage rates in our region,” said RTWPB VIII chairman and DOLE Regional Director Elias Cayanong.

The new wage order covers all domestic workers in Region 8 whether on a live-in or live-out arrangements, such as, but not limited to, general househelp; yaya; cook; gardener; laundry person; or any person who regularly performs domestic work in one household on an occupational basis. It does not apply, however, to service providers; family drivers; children under foster family arrangement; and any other person who performs work occasionally or sporadically and not on occupational basis.

As required by law, wages of domestic workers shall be paid in cash at least once a month. No deductions from the wages shall be made other than those mandated by law.

In the case of hiring/contracting of domestic workers through licensed public employment agencies, kasambahay wage rates prescribed in the order shall be borne by the principals, or clients of the agency. In the event, that the principals or clients fail to pay, the agency shall be jointly and severally liable with his principal or client. The wage order does not allow exemption.

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—From the Department of Labor and Employment