Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Batas Kasambahay

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) issued the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) for Republic Act No. 10361, otherwise known as the “Domestic Workers Act” or “Batas Kasambahay,” on May 09, 2013.

Republic Act No. 10361 defines a Kasambahay as a person engaged in domestic work within an employment relationship such as a househelp, nursemaid or “yaya”, cook, gardener, or laundry person, but excludes those performing domestic work on an occasional or sporadic basis.

The much-celebrated Batas Kasambahay is said to have institutionalized the basic rights of a domestic worker vis-à-vis minimum wage, rest periods, service incentive leave, thirteenth-month pay and social security benefits.

Note that the law highlights the domestic worker’s right to education and training. Under the IRR, a Kasambahay must be afforded the opportunity to finish basic education, which shall consist of elementary and secondary education. Moreover, the IRR mandates the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to facilitate access of a Kasambahay to efficient training on technical-vocational education, and to coordinate with the National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC) and the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards (RTWPBs) to develop a skill/competency-based pay system.

Recognizing the vulnerability of domestic workers to different forms of abuse, the IRR establishes a mechanism for the rescue and rehabilitation of an abused Kasambahay. For this purpose, the IRR forms a rescue team composed of (1) the municipal or city social welfare officer, (2) the concerned barangay officials, and (3) a proper law enforcement personnel. The rescue team must immediately respond to any report of abuse, and ensure the full protection of the rights of the rescued Kasambahay while under its control and custody. For the recovery and rehabilitation of an abused Kasambahay, the IRR mandates that he/she be provided with a temporary shelter, counseling, free legal services, medical or psychological services, livelihood and skills training, and other relevant services as may be necessary.

Finally, it is worth noting that Batas Kasambahay directs the parties to execute a written employment contract before the commencement of the service of a Kasambahay. The contract must be in a language or dialect understood by both the Kasambahay and the employer.

A model employment contract is provided for in the IRR. It is written in Filipino and contains provisions relating to the Kasambahay’s duties and responsibilities, rest days and leaves, and compensation and benefits among others. Interestingly, the model contract provides for signature blocks for witnesses. This is because under the IRR, either party may request the Punong Barangay or his/her designated officer to read and explain the content of the contracts and to serve as witness thereon.

The Batas Kasambahay IRR was published last May 19. It will take effect 15 days after its publication.

 (Imee and Grace Ann C. Lazaro co-authored this post.)