MORE THAN four-fifths of the 1.4 million domestic workers in the Philippines do not receive social welfare benefits they are entitled to under the law, the Labor department said, citing a study.
In a briefing Wednesday, the National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC) cited results of its first survey on domestic workers, completed in partnership with the Philippine Statistics Authority and the International Labor Organization.
The survey found that out of the total 1,400,132 domestic workers participating in the study, 83% did not receive social benefits. Of these, 79.2% or 1.1 million do not have Social Security System payments made on their behalf; 80.7% or 1.1 million do not have PhilHealth; and 87.6% or 1.2 million are not enrolled in the government’s housing fund, known as PAG-IBIG.
However, 57% of domestic workers receive “other” benefits such as gifts, transportation, interest-free loans, paid leave and others. The remainder said they do not receive benefits other than their wages.
The study also reported that 1.3 million household workers also worked without any written contracts or were not aware of the legal requirement to work under contract. Only 2.5% or 35,455 have signed contracts with their employers.
The survey is the first of its kind, NWPC Director Maria Criselda R. Sy said in the briefing, “This will be the first baseline (study) when it comes to the profile of the kasambahay (domestic workers) in the Philippines.”
She added that this survey also aims to make employers aware of household workers’ rights under Republic Act 10361 or the Kasambahay Law. Many domestic workers and employers are not aware of the law.
“There are penalties (for not following the law) but our problem is the advocacy here that everyone should be aware,” Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns (BWSC) Director Karen Perida-Trayvilla said.
Both NWPC and the BWSC are pushing for a unified registration system for social welfare applications for domestic workers. Ms. Perida-Trayvilla said the department has spoken with the social welfare agencies but talks have not progressed.
Ms. Sy said the NWPC is also planning on providing incentives to employers who offer written contracts for domestic workers. — Gillian M. Cortez