Wednesday, February 10, 2016

House passes bill instituting policies for the protection and welfare of caregivers

The House of Representatives has approved on second reading a bill establishing standards of protection for local caregivers.

House Bill 6424, authored by Rep. Herminia B. Roman (1st District, Bataan), covers all caregivers employed and working within the country.

Roman said professional and responsive care giving is very vital to medically and physically challenged individuals. The country's aging population, the increase in the number of children born with medical issues and prevalent illnesses are the reasons why the demand for caregiving service continues to rise in the Philippines.

"In recognition of the very important role of caregivers in national development, policies in the practice of the caregiving profession must be instituted to protect the rights of caregivers and to promote their welfare towards a decent employment," Roman stressed.

The bill, which was endorsed by the House Committee on Labor and Employment chaired by Rep. Karlo Alexei B. Nograles (1st District, Davao City), enumerates pre-employment requirements for caregivers, requires an employment contract between the caregiver and the employer and provides for the conditions governing termination of contract.

The bill specifies benefits that are due to caregivers such as the basic necessities of board, lodging and medical assistance to caregivers shall be provided for by the employer.

Caregivers shall be entitled to daily and weekly rest periods, wages of caregivers shall be paid in cash twice a month, with pay slips, and that no deductions shall be made from such wages without the written consent of the caregiver.

Also, caregivers shall be entitled to an annual leave benefit of five days with pay and shall be covered by the Social Security System (SSS), the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) and the Home Development Mutual Fund or Pag-Ibig.

Under the bill to be known as the "Caregivers Welfare Act," caregivers are provided with the minimum wage rates such as P7, 000 a month in the National Capital Region (NCR), P5, 500 a month in chartered cities and municipalities and P4, 000 a month in other municipalities.

It also includes a provision for the protection of the employer from public disclosure of privileged information and provides for settlement of disputes.

The measure mandates the institution of a system of licensing and regulation to protect caregivers hired through private employment agencies.

It directs the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in coordination with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to promulgate the necessary rules and regulations for the effective implementation of this Act. (House of Representatives)

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