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They do all the housework, from the easiest to the most difficult. They cook the dish, clean the house, do the laundry and take care of the children and the elderly. They are part of many families and life will be different without them.
But in the view of most, maid service is not as important as the service of ordinary workers. This can be seen in the policies that exist in our environment. For example, an ordinary worker must be paid at least the minimum wage. At present, the minimum wage of a worker in the National Capital Region is less than P12,000 per month. To the housemates? Their minimum wage has been fixed at P800 per month since 1993.
A worker should not be employed for more than eight hours. If his work exceeds eight hours, he will be paid overtime. He also has a day of rest or rest day. Is this also the right of housemates? No.
By December, a worker has a reliable 13th month pay. Apart from this, he also has service incentive leave. And if he does not like his boss, he can also form or join a union to protect and advance his rights. Is there a helper like this? Still nothing.
Instead, we often hear of a maid being raped or exploited by her boss. It is also normal for a helper to swear or taste bad words at work. The housemates are not considered workers. Many of them are considered slaves.
Worldwide, the number of domestic workers is estimated at 53 million. 83% of them are female. Migrant workers are also in large numbers. In the Philippines, an estimated 1.9 million domestic workers are in the country and 1.4 million are abroad.
Sadly, despite the large number of these housemates, they continue to be oppressed and exploited by the families they serve. The government may have thought that because they did the work of domestic workers in private homes and not in the workplace, they had no right to be treated as ordinary workers.
Fortunately, this perspective is changing. On June 16, 2011, the International Labor Organization (ILO) approved Convention No. 189 so-called Convention Concerning Decent Work for Domestic Workers.
ILO Convention 189 is important because it raises the type of housemates from being the apparent slave of their employers to being a formal type of worker with appropriate protection under the law.
ILO Convention 189 states that each country must assign a minimum age of domestic workers as well as a minimum age of average workers. By doing so, avoid child labor or hiring minors as housemates. If a helper is less than 18 years old, he or she should be given the opportunity to complete his or her basic education.
The government must also ensure that domestic workers are safe from abuse and discrimination. It is the government's obligation to ensure that they are given a minimum wage, weekly rest day of at least 24 hours, annual leaves, overtime pay, safe and healthy working environment, regular payment of wages not exceeding one month, etc. more rights given to the average worker.
ILO Convention 189 also states that the right of domestic workers to form a union or association and participate in collective bargaining should be recognized.
Domestic workers working abroad should be given the right to keep their visas, passports and other travel and identity documents.
The government must also implement the existence of a formal contract between the domestic helper and his employer. In this regard, the government should appoint a corresponding agency to enforce the rights of domestic workers and where domestic workers may file a complaint regarding the violation of their rights.
Pang formally agreed. Aquino passed ILO Convention 189 on May 18, 2012 and is in the Senate to approve his approval.
But even if the Senate approves it, let us think that it is difficult to implement an ILO Convention due to the lack of an ILO mechanism to ensure that it can be implemented in the member countries of the said organization.
Therefore, it is important to have a national law here in the Philippines that contains the rights of a helper in the direction followed by ILO Convention No. 189.
The House of Representatives Bill (Senate Bill No. 78 in the Senate and House Bill No. 6144 in the House of Representatives) has long been pending in Congress but has not yet been fully passed.
Progressive sectors may need to make some noise to approve this bill. At the same time, we also need to organize and mobilize housemates because they are also toiling victims of oppression and exploitation.
They must be treated well because of their service.