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When did the Batas Kasambahay or Republic Act No.

10361, and its implementing rules and regulations


(IRR) come into effect?
RA 10361 or Batas Kasambahay was published on April 15 in the Official Gazette. By explicit provision
of the Act, it came into full force and effect 15 days after its complete publication in the Official Gazette.
Its implementing rules and regulations (IRR) were promulgated on May 9. The IRR was published in The
Manila Times and The Philippine Star on May 19; hence, by its express provision, the IRR took effect on
June 3.
What is the significance of the law?
RA 10361 is highly significant because it underscores the need to afford special protection to domestic
workers or kasambahay, the sector of workers, which in turn, affords household employers who are
workers themselves the opportunity to focus on work elsewhere for their livelihood.
Thus, the law translates into very concrete terms the constitutional mandate to afford full protection to
labor wherever situated, regardless of status and nature of position. The need for full protection is more
pronounced when the concerned worker renders services in the household wherein practically no
monitoring by concerned government agencies can be done because the work of the kasambahay is
hidden from view.
Moreover, RA 10361 serves as our countrys compliance with the commitment it made on Sept. 5, 2012
to implement all the obligations provided in the International Labor Organizations Convention No. 189
(2011), concerning decent work for domestic labor.
Is RA 10361 a mere consolidation of the provisions in other laws for the protection of domestic workers?
Or does the new law provide more protection for a kasambahay?
While considering the pertinent provisions in the Civil Code and the Labor Code, RA 10361 grants
additional significant rights and benefits to the kasambahay. These are the 13th month pay, Pag-Ibig
membership and additional pay for work beyond the agreed hours of work, not to mention the provisions
which categorically declare as unlawful a number of prohibited acts.
Has the government widely disseminated the law and its IRR to the public?
Reports have it that the draft IRR of the Batas Kasambahay was posted online to help raise awareness
and solicit inputs faster. Moreover, the labor secretary directed regional offices of the Department of
Labor and Employment (DOLE) to conduct town-hall type consultations in Luzon, the Visayas and
Mindanao during the 90-day period within which DOLE was to come up with the IRR.
Whether or not such public consultations suffice to widely disseminate the law and its IRR remains to be
seen. This can be manifested in a situation where an overwhelming majority of employers will comply
not only with the registration/reportorial requirements but also with the grant of benefits to the
kasambahay pursuant to RA 10361.
What are the obligations of the employer to a kasambahay under the law?
Under RA 10361, the household employer has the following obligations:
To treat the kasambahay with dignity, not subject him/her to any kind of abuse or inflict any form of
physical violence or harassment;
To provide the basic necessities of the kasambahayat least three adequate meals a day and humane
sleeping arrangements that ensure safety;
To provide appropriate rest and assistance in case of illness and injuries sustained during the service
without loss of benefits.
. To respect the privacy of the kasambahayextends to all forms of communication and personal effects;
To grant the kasambahay access to outside communication during free time, or even during work time in
case of an emergency;
To afford the kasambahay the opportunity to finish basic education and to allow access to higher
education or training;

To register all the kasambahay in the Registry of Domestic Workers in the barangay where the employer
resides;
To comply with the terms and conditions of employment, such as:
Health and safety
Daily rest period
Weekly rest period
Minimum wage (P2,500 in Metro Manila; P2,000 in chartered cities and 1st class towns; and P1,500 in
other towns)
13th month pay
Leave benefits
Social and other benefits
Does the law provide for the centralized registration of kasambahay nationwide?
While RA 10361 does not explicitly provide for such centralized registration of domestic workers, Rule IV,
Sec. 9 of the IRR mandates the SSS, Pag-Ibig and PhilHealth to develop a unified system of registration
and enrollment within six months from the IRR promulgation.
Moreover, Rule IX, Sec. 2 of the IRR requires the punong barangay, together with SSS, Pag-Ibig and
PhilHealth representatives to conduct a common registration of all kasambahay nationwide.
Are employers themselves required to register a kasambahay in the barangay office?
Yes, Sec. 17 of RA 10361 makes it the duty of employers to register all kasambahay under their
employment in the Registry of Domestic Workers in the barangay where the employer resides.
Are employers required to enroll a kasambahay with the SSS, PhilHealth and Pag-Ibig?
Yes. Sec. 30 of RA 10361 provides that the kasambahay who has rendered at least one month of service
shall be covered by the SSS, PhilHealth and Pag-Ibig and shall be entitled to all the benefits in
accordance with law. This means that the employer has to register both himself and the kasambahay in
these three agencies.
How long does it take to register a kasambahay with these agencies (based on your experience and
anecdotal evidence)?
Currently, registration with the punong barangay will not take five minutes as it merely involves writing
down the employers and the kasambahays names and address(es) in the barangay record book
without any prescribed form.
Employer registration with Pag-Ibig is systematic and does not take long. The kasambahay can even
register online.
SSS registration can, however, entail almost one whole day. In my case, I left the house at 8:30 a.m.
Upon arriving at the SSS main office on East Avenue in Quezon City, I was almost discouraged to go
through the long queues, not to mention that while the guidelines specified two copies for certain forms,
the SSS staff required me to accomplish a third copy of the same. I was done by 2 p.m. Note that I got
the forms and accomplished the same a day earlier.
Also, note that registration with the SSS, PhilHealth and Pag-Ibig can be facilitated by downloading the
forms online and accomplishing the same before going for the queue.
10.When should an employer register a kasambahay with the three agencies? Is there a deadline?
As a rule, the kasambahay should be registered with the SSS, PhilHealth and Pag-Ibig after one month of
service.
There is no deadline for registration. In fact, the IRR clarifies in Rule IX, Sec. 3 that the kasambahay desk
in the barangay hall should accommodate continuous registration by the employers.
11.Has the government put up a one-stop shop for the registration of kasambahay with the SSS,
PhilHealth and Pag-Ibig?

As they say, wish ko lang. The IRR itself allows the SSS, Pag-Ibig and PhilHealth a period of six months
from the IRR promulgation to develop a unified system of registration and enrollment.
12.What are the preemployment requirements?
Even before the execution of the employment contract, the employer may require the kasambahay to
submit, the following:
Medical certificate or a health certificate issued by a local government health officer
Barangay and police clearance
NBI clearance
Duly authenticated birth certificate or any other document showing the kasambahays age, such as
voters ID card, baptismal record or passport (Art. III, Sec. 12)
13.Who will shoulder the cost of these preemployment requirements?
The law explicitly states that the costs of the foregoing preemployment documents shall be borne by the
prospective employer or agency which facilitated the kasambahays employment.
14.For kasambahay employed for at least one year, are employers required to pay the premiums for or
contributions to the SSS, PhilHealth and Pag-Ibig retroactively?
As regards the SSS and PhilHealth, the pertinent laws required registration as early as 1993 and 1995,
respectively. Unless Congress will act to amend such existing laws, retroactive application of RA 10361
cannot be avoided.
As regards Pag-Ibig registration, the requirement was introduced in RA 10361. Thus, there should be no
dispute that it should be applied only prospectively.
15.What are the penalties for employers for not complying with the
new law?
The new law provides that any violation of its provisions which are declared unlawful shall be penalized
with a fine of not less than P10,000 but not more than P40,000.
The same is without prejudice to the filing of an appropriate civil or criminal action by the aggrieved
party. For instance, an abused kasambahay who sustained physical injuries may file a complaint for
serious or less serious physical injuries before the appropriate prosecutors office/court.
Since the new law also requires registration with the SSS, PhilHealth and Pag-Ibig, the existing laws in
this regard must be applied. For instance, under the Revised Social Security Law (RA 8282 of 1997),
failure or refusal to comply with the provisions of the law shall be punished by a fine of not less than
P5,000 and not more than P20,000 or imprisonment of not less than 6 years and 1 day, and not more
than 12 years, or both, at the discretion of the court.
16.What are the strengths and weakness of the kasambahay law in
terms of its enforceability?
Strengths In time, especially so when the unified registration system and the barangay kasambahay
master list are completed within six months from the IRR issuance, the government should be able to
fully comply with its duty to protect the rights and promote the welfare of this very disadvantaged sector
of household workers. For instance, a standard operating procedure for rescue and rehabilitation in
cooperation with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of the
Interior and Local Government (DILG), DOLE will be developed for the abused kasambahay.
The visitorial and enforcement powers of the labor secretary are in place.

Enforcement involves all pillars of justicecitizenry, local government unit, police, prosecution/judiciary,
jail system and concerned departments and other agencies of the government.
Weaknesses
At present the processes that the employer must undergo to register are so tedious. Unless the
employer has online access and is IT savvy, he would have to spend a lot of precious time queuing just
to secure the prescribed forms.
Considering also the fact that most kasambahay belong to the poorest of the poor and hence, unable to
finish even elementary education, they are in no position to determine whether or not there is strict
employer compliance with the legal requirements.
The added financial burden on the employer which amounts to a total minimum of P689 (SSS, PhilHealth
and Pag-Ibig), if the kasambahays pay is less than P5,000, not to mention the problem of retroactivity in
SSS premium payments and its huge financial implications on household employers who are ordinary
wage earners themselves, may encourage them to circumvent the law.
They may resort to the exceptions provided for in the law. For instance, children under foster family
arrangement may be initially enrolled, only to be forced to drop out of school after sometime.
The huge number of employers and kasambahay in our country will entail not only huge costs for the
government but also difficulty in monitoring employer compliance.
17.Should the law be amended?
Yes. Congress must, however, look for guidance from whatever experiences may be drawn from the
implementation of the law within the next year.
In time, with the inputs of all the stakeholderskasambahay and household employers, concerned
agencies of the government (DOLE, DILG [in particular, the punong barangay], DSWD, Philippine
National Police, SSS, PhilHealth, Pag-Ibig plus the Department of Justice and the judiciary)gaps in the
law may be addressed. For instance, while Sec. 11 regarding employment contract specifies, as one of
the minimum terms and conditions of employmenthours of work and proportionate additional
paymentthere is nothing in RA 10361 which specifies the normal hours of work of the kasambahay
upon which to reckon such proportionate additional payment.
In simple words, household employers are now so obliged to pay overtime compensation with no clear
basis.
In this regard, one may suggest the application of the pertinent provision of the Civil Code which, under
Sec. 44, remains in force and effect if not inconsistent with the provisions of RA No. 10361. In Art. 1695
of the Civil Code househelpers shall not be required to work more than 10 hours a day. x x x.
The implication, therefore, is that 10 hours is the normal hours of work per day. Service beyond 10
hours should be considered overtime which warrants the payment of additional compensation.
Still, however, if one follows to its logical conclusion the provision which grants an aggregate daily rest
period of 8 hours per day (Sec. 20), he may argue that the balance of 16 hours per day is the
kasambahays working time. But surely, it is not the intention of the law to make life so hard and
burdensome to the kasambahay.
Too long a time spent for work is not only counterproductive.
With not enough reasonable
compensation, it subjects the kasambahay to discrimination, exploitation and abuse. Such cannot be
countenanced in this jurisdiction which proscribes any form of discrimination, exploitation and abuse.
The kasambahay is guaranteed his/her human dignity and entitled to full respect of his/her human rights
under the Constitution.

Finally, the most controversial issue that bugs a huge number of household employers is the retroactive
application of SSS registration. RA 7655 (Aug. 19, 1993) requires the mandatory SSS coverage of
househelpers (who are) receiving at least P1,000.
Accordingly, the SSS requires the payment of contributions/premiums from the start of the kasambahay
employment, not from the time the new law came into full force and effect.
With the substantial amount of contributions that will have to be paid when complying with registration
requirements, most employers belonging to the low-income group would rather leave their employment
and send home their kasambahay.
They simply do not have the funds to comply with retroactive premium payments. It is up to Congress to
address this nagging issue. Most employers intend to comply with the law as they also believe that it is
high time for the kasambahay to enjoy the benefits on par with regular workers, but the $64 question is:
Can the ordinary employers afford it?