50K domestic workers found to be minors

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    CLOSE to 50,000 domestic workers in the country are minors, or aged 17 years old and below, according to a recent study conducted by the National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC)

    In a virtual press briefing, NWPC Deputy Executive Director Patricia Hornilla disclosed that 48,849 out of the total 1.4 million household workers in the country are minors.

    Hornilla said a total of 43,880 were found to be aged 15 to 17, with 38,965 of them females and 4,915 males. A total of 4,969 were aged below 15, with 4,732 of them girls and 237 boys.

    Under the Kasambahay Law passed seven years ago, it is unlawful to employ any person below 15 years of age as a domestic worker.

    “We want to remind our employers that it has been declared unlawful and is deemed as one of the worst forms of child labor,” Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns (BWSC) Director Karen Trayvilla said.

    Trayvilla said 15 to 17 years old are permitted to work as domestic workers but have limitations in their working conditions.

    “If we are to hire domestic workers aged 15 to 17 years old, let us not forget that they can only work for 8 hours a day and, in no case, work between 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Otherwise, it will also be considered as child labor,” said Trayvilla.

    Under the Kasambahay Law, any violation shall be punishable with a fine from P10,000 to P40,000 without prejudice to the filing of appropriate civil or criminal action by the aggrieved party.

    Meanwhile, the Nagkaisa Labor Coalition (NAGKAISA) called on the Senate to pass its counterpart Security of Tenure (SOT) bill after the House of Representatives approved its version of the measure with 204 affirmative votes and 7 rejections.

    “The fight against contractualization remains a work in progress and is still has a long way to go,” said NAGKAISA charman Sonny Matula.

    “We urge the Senate to act with dispatch and pass its own version,” he added.

    The group also urged senators to include some provisions needed to effectively address the widespread problem of contractualization.

    Matula said the bill’s passage in the House of Representatives brings the country closer to reducing, if not eliminating, various forms of contractualization.

    “The new SOT Bill is a small step in fighting contractualization, but is in the right direction,” said Matula.

    Among the welcome provisions of the proposed law, he said, is that the bill recognizes regular employment as a norm and disallows fixed-term employment, except in the cases of overseas Filipino workers, workers on probation, relievers who are temporary replacements of absent regular employees whose engagements shall not exceed six months, project employees, and seasonal employees.

    He said they also welcome the bill’s guarantee that the rights and benefits of relievers, project, and seasonal employees shall be at par with regular employees.