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PIA Press Release

Domestic help now classified as skilled workers

by Prix D Banzon

Davao City (13 December) -- The government's move to increase salaries of domestic helpers now called household service workers (HSW) to $400 would require one to be a skilled worker.

According to Zenobia Caro, head of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration in an interview after the opening of the Christmas Fair for OFWs said effective December 16, the HSW will have an adjusted monthly wage of $ 400 from the old rate of $200.

But she said recruitment agencies must comply with requirements of having their recruits for HSW equipped with certifications that they were trained by accredited agencies. The program is in coordination with the Technical Education for Schools and Development Authority (TESDA).

The new rate and the training that will be implemented this week has to go together as the order requires that only service workers with proper training will be allowed to work abroad.

She said the training among others is focused on basic home services and other related work.

She however said that they had noticed even with the $200 monthly pay there are other employers who do not follow the contracts and some HSWs receiving only $150. If there is a violation of the contract, the recruitment agency if found guilty will also face sanctions with appropriate charges to be filed.

But most of the time the workers do not complain and despite this scenario still they go back to and just the same continue to work, she said.

"I think ganun na talaga sila hindi nadala sugod pa rin sila at pagdating sa job site dun na magkaroon ng problema (that's already their nature, they don't learn their lesson, they still proceed and when they arrive at their jobsite that's when these problems arise.)" she said.

She said with the new rate those in the industry had been complaining because it would lessen their market and some employer would look for options like Indonesia, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka.

However she said the Filipino "super maids" still has the advantage because of their skills and they are good in communication.

Caro meanwhile said that the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration and the Department of Labor and Employment are already looking at markets like Australia and other countries where there are less occurrence of violence to HSW so they would also be protected.

She said still the Middle East top the list where physical and sexual abuse are high against HSW with Kuwait topping the list followed by Lebanon then Jordan. (PIA XI) [top]

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