Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Better Skills and Pay for Filipino Domestic Helpers

The Department of Labor and Employment Secretary Arturo Brion said he had endorsed reforms that would improve the skills of Filipinos who plan to work as domestic helpers overseas.

He also said that the package would include country-specific orientation courses on language and culture. It would also seek to ensure protective mechanisms at job sites, oblige employers to shoulder the cost of deploying the domestic helper, and increase their salaries to levels commensurate with their competencies.

“These policy reforms will minimize the departure of inexperienced, ill-trained and undocumented workers who are most prone to abuse by both recruiters and employers,” he said.

According to Brion, applicants for domestic helper (DH) must undergo skills assessment to be conducted by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to upgrade their capabilities as DH. After taking the course TESDA will be giving certificates of competency to the certified workers.

The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) will sponsor a country-specific language and culture training that workers must also take.

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) will not process any employment contracts of domestic helper if they are not holding certificates issued by TESDA and OWWA.

Brion also said that the POEA governing board is planning to replace the “one-month salary placement fee” with “no placement fee” policy particularly for applicants of domestic works.

He added that salary deductions on site for the payment of service or placement fee will not be allowed.

Since household workers are highly trained, Brion said that the recruiters in the Philippines can asked for a higher service fee from the employers including the placement fee which is normally shouldered by the worker.

Brion also said that he asked the POEA board to raise the minimum salary of domestic helpers, which is pegged at $200 in all countries, same to the minimum remuneration for domestic workers in Hong Kong.

This article was first published in on August 26, 2006

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