* * * * * * *
Hi mommies and actually anyone who has household help! Are you following the Kasambahay Law? Do you even know there is a Kasambahay Law (hehe)? What do you think about it?
I recently sat down with my household staff to discuss the law with them. After a long talk, here's what we think of it:
Mabigat siya financially sa employer because of the many benefits—SSS, Philhealth and Pag-IBIG (Article IV, Sec. 30). The total is a minimum of P791 per maid. I'm actually okay with giving benefits, kahit na aaminin ko na masakit ang extra P1,600 sa monthly budget. To affluent families, P800 a maid is negligible but if you're struggling to make ends meet and need a yaya for your kid, that money could buy milk and eggs and bread!
Pampabigat siya sa schedule ng employer kasi kailangan mong asikasuhin buwan-buwan ang benefits. Plus, you need to register your household help with your barangay (Article III, Sec. 17). Okay lang kung sa opisina kasi may HR, may admin staff, may messenger. Sa bahay ko, it's me and me alone! At least ako, housewife na so I actually can devote one day a month to this. Paano if may trabaho ka? "Boss, leave po ako bukas kasi kailangan ko pumunta sa bank, sa Philhealth at sa Pag-IBIG para bayaran yung benefits ng yaya ng anak ko. Next month din po and every month after, one day leave po ako." Nyek.
The government must make a way to make the administrative burden less for us. My sister-in-law says the SSS people give her a hard time every frakkin' month. Pipila ka na, ang daming ng forms, ang sungit pa nila sa iyo. Stress! Ugh. So government. I wouldn't mind paying for my help's benefits if everything's online and from one bank. Parang bills payment!
Actually, ang SSS may ganun na. Click here. Of course, if nag-resign si yaya or you fire her, you again must file papers to say that she's no longer with you or else babawasan ka pa rin buwan-buwan. Or you'll be penalized for not paying her contributions.
Yaya doesn't want day off. Yaya Juliet doesn't like going on day off kasi napapagastos lang siya. Her family kasi is nasa probinsya lahat so she doesn't have anyone here in Manila. She also actually likes working. She doesn't like being idle!
But according to the law, the yayas must have 24-hour day off every single week (Article IV, Sec. 21). I actually like days off kasi that means a day of privacy for my family. In fact, my previous maids used to come in Monday mornings and leave Friday afternoons. So they only slept here 4 nights a week and the weekends are blissfully private.
But si Yaya Juliet ayaw niya nga mag-day off. Okay lang before but when the Kasambahay Law took effect, sabi ko sa kanya, "Juliet, sorry ka na lang pero kailangan mo talaga umalis ng bahay ko once a week. Yun ang sabi ng batas." Sagot ni Juliet: "Yang batas na yan, sasagutin ba niya yung gastusin ko sa araw na day off ko?"
You can't just fire a yaya. (Article V) Dapat may "gross habitual neglect and inefficiency." So if nahuli mo siya na hinampas niya yung anak mo, wag paalisin—dapat warning muna. Habitual means paulit-ulit. So kung nahuli mo a second time, hindi pa habitual yun.
The law does say you can fire a yaya if there's willful disobedience, fraud, willful breach of trust, violation of terms of contract, and commission of a crime against you and your family. So what I'll do is I'll draft a contract that specifically lists all cases wherein I can fire her: saktan mo anak ko kahit isang beses, magnakaw ka, nag-chismis ka about my family, etc. I'm still thinking of all possible scenarios.
The law also says you can fire yaya if she has a contagious disease (Sec. 32, f). This is a relief to me kasi I had two yayas who had TB pala. Because I didn't want to be hardhearted, I paid for their initial treatment and even gave them 2 weeks' paid leave. Ano ginawa ng mga yaya? Naghanap ng ibang trabaho at hindi na bumalik. Sayang yung pera ko. So now I know I don't have to help them financially; I can just let them go.
So I like that there's a contract! The problem is this...
Yaya doesn't want to sign a contract. (Article III, Sec. 11) Juliet didn't get to finish high school and she is inherently suspicious of contracts. Mostly because she believes they are drafted against her. And if you read my above statement, yeah, I agree since a contract must protect me, too.
So if ayaw niya mag-sign ng contract, does that mean we're breaking the law? Does that mean she's not officially employed (and therefore no benefits)? And yung contract ba dapat pa-notarize? Kasi if papa-notaryo ko pa yun, dagdag lakad at gastos na naman yan!
The law has illogical terms. This is my favorite: It says if yaya wants to go to school, employer should adjust the family's schedule to accommodate (Article II, Sec. 9). Nyek. What if her classes are from 8am-5pm? Paano na?
Well, sabi naman ng law the education shouldn't hamper the services required by employer. But the law also says "employer shall afford the domestic worker the opportunity to finish basic education." May elementary and high school classes ba sa gabi? And if meron, yaya is also required to have 8 hours of rest (Article IV, sec. 20). Are her classes considered part of her rest period?
Yayas don't want a raise anymore. My yayas are happy with their salaries kasi they are much higher than what the law stipulates (Article IV, Sec. 24, a), which is just P2500 a month. They're even happier that under the law, ako ang magbabayad ng benefits nila in full, hindi kami hati. But when they found out that once their salary hits P5000 a month, split na kami sa contributions and they have to pay taxes.
Panic sila. Ayaw daw nila mag-contribute at magbayad ng buwis (who does???). Since Juliet is about to hit the one-year mark, I told her she'll get a raise. Ayaw ni ate. Paano ito? So, hooray, this is great for me, right? But I'm scared she'll leave us if I don't give her a raise. So, no, it's not good for us at all.
I am forced to choose the better-off yayas. I recently hired a new yaya for Iñigo. We love her! But I was choosing between her and another girl. They were both perfect for me but, because of the law, it was easy to choose. I chose Josie, the yaya who already had her complete documents. NBI clearance, medical clearance, birth certificate, IDs, etc. Jenny, the other yaya, said she is very poor and cannot afford to get her documents. Now, according to the law, the employer is supposed to shoulder the pre-employment costs (Article 3, Sec 12). So I told Jenny ako na bahala. But then Josie showed up with all her documents.
Put yourself in my shoes: Josie means she can start right away and wala na ako gastos. Jenny means more gastos and a waiting period kasi I have to wait for her to get all her stuff. And nangyari na sa akin yung binayaran ko na lahat ng medical ng dalawang yaya before and we found out may TB at hypertension sila. So after all I spent and all the time I waited, I didn't get to hire them anyway. I needed a yaya ASAP so I got Josie.
|One of the yayas' benefits: Meeting stars regularly!|
The law is not all bad. It's actually got some good parts like giving yayas a nice and safe place to sleep (my yayas said some of their friends sleep in the garage, beside the car!). The yayas and I have also compromised on some areas. For example, si Juliet, yung yaya na ayaw mag-day off, sabi ko I'll send her to cooking classes every weekend na lang. May day off na siya, may opportunity to learn pa! As for the raise, Juliet suggested kung pwede same salary pa rin and bigyan ko na lang siya ng "allowance" so she won't have to pay taxes. I haven't said yes to that yet since I want to ask a lawyer if that's legal.
Yes, I am actually going to talk to a lawyer about this (for a magazine article) and I hope our concerns can be cleared up. I like to think I'm a smart girl but I don't really understand legal stuff. So I really truly hope all our fears are unfounded.