December 1, 2023

Republic Act 10361, “An Act Instituting Policies for the Protection and Welfare of Domestic Workers,” also known as Domestic Workers Act or Batas Kasambahay, took effect on June 4, 2013.
This law protects the rights of our kasama sa bahay, ate, yaya, katulong, or simply kasambahay and recognizes a kasambahay similar to those in the formal sector. It also strengthens respect, protection, and promotion of their rights and welfare.
Kasambahays include those engaged in domestic work, whether on a live-in or live-out arrangement, such as, but not limited to general househelp, yaya, cook, gardener, laundry person; working children or domestic workers 15 years and above but below 18 years of age; or any person who regularly performs domestic work in one household on an occupational basis (live-out arrangement).
Not covered by Batas Kasambahay are service providers, family drivers, children under foster family arrangement, and any other person who performs work occasionally or sporadically and not on an occupational and regular basis.
It is important to know that children under foster family arrangement are those who are living with a family or household of relative and are provided access to education and given an allowance incidental to education like baon, transportation, school projects, and school activities provided, the foster family and foster care arrangements are in compliance with the procedures and requirements as prescribed by Republic Act 10165 or Foster Care Act of 2012.
As the government sustains its campaign to eliminate the worst forms of child labor, the Department of Labor and Employment is reminding households that it is unlawful to employ minors as domestic workers. The Kasambahay Law strictly prohibits employing minors, or those who are below 15 years old, as domestic workers because it is a clear form of child labor and exploitation.
While the law prohibits households from employing children below 15 years old, those between 15 to 17 are allowed to work but not more than eight hours a day and not between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
The law provides that a kasambahay is entitled to at least three adequate meals a day, humane sleeping arrangements, 13th month pay, a daily rest period of eight straight hours, a day off each week, social security, and health and PagIbig benefits.
An employer cannot deduct the cash equivalent for damage to household tools from a kasambahay’s wage. The employer cannot withhold food, payment or other basic necessities as punishment, or even monitor personal calls after work.
The law also requires employers to afford kasambahays (whether teens or adults) the opportunity to finish basic education, alternative learning systems, higher education, and technical vocational training. It is the employer who has to adjust the kasambahay’s work schedule “to allow access to education.”
The law makes it unlawful for employers to deduct recruitment fees paid to an agency from the kasambahay’s pay.
A kasambahay’s monthly wage must be given in cash on a specifically indicated time and directly to him or her. There should be no promissory notes, vouchers, coupons, tickets, tokens, or “chits,” the law insists.
Employers also cannot interfere with how the kasambahay’s wages are spent. They cannot be forced to purchase commodities such as cellphones, cosmetics, and personal effects from their employer.
In the Cordillera, the minimum wage of a kasambahay is P4,000 in cities and first-class municipalities while P3,000 in other municipalities.
Meanwhile, kasambahay who are experiencing abuse or would like to report their employers for labor laws violations are urged to visit the nearest DOLE regional offices, or call the DOLE hotline 1349.