President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has signed the Caregiver Welfare Act into law which provides that domestic caregivers’ working hours will be based on employment contracts and that they are entitled to overtime pay for service beyond eight hours of work in a day.
Republic Act No. 11965 or An Act Institutionalizing Policies for the Protection and Welfare of Caregivers in the Practice of their Occupation was signed by the President on November 23.
The new law also grants caregivers a night shift differential pay rate with a minimum wage not less than the applicable minimum wage in the region.
The bill covers caregivers employed and working within the country in private homes, nursing or care facilities, and other residential settings, and caregivers whether directly hired by the employer or placed through the Public Employment Services Office (PESO) and Private Employment Agency (PEA).
Caregivers who have rendered at least one month of service are also entitled to a 13th month pay, which will be paid not later than December 24 of every year, or upon separation from employment, and a leave credit of at least five days with pay for those who have rendered at least one year of service.
Additional benefits provided by the new law include membership in state-run firms Social Security System, the Philippine Health Insurance Service, the Home Development Mutual Fund, and “all benefits in accordance with the pertinent provisions provided by law.”
In addition, the bill states that a caregiver may terminate the contract at any time before its expiration if the said caregiver is suffering from verbal or emotional abuse, inhumane treatment, or physical abuse.
The bill tasks the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in drafting the law’s Implementing Rules and Regulations in coordination with its attached agency, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), and other concerned agencies for the effective implementation of the law.
The Department of Migrant Workers (DMW), in coordination with the DOLE, TESDA, and other agencies, is also mandated to issue an IRR for the recruitment and deployment of Filipino caregivers for overseas employment to ensure their protection, including their reintegration.
The Caregiver Welfare Act will take effect 15 days upon publication in the Official Gazette, or in at least two newspapers of general circulation.