Thursday, December 20, 2007

23, Age Requirement for DH

The Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) has set the minimum age requirement for Filipina domestic helper applying overseas to 23 years old, which before was 25 years old.

“We have to act on this matter immediately so as not to prejudice our common objective of strengthening further our programs that would ensure the protection and welfare of our workers abroad,” said Labor and Employment Secretary Arturo Brion.

The Governing Board has also issued a resolution that relaxes two of the provisions being proposed by the Federated Association of Manpower Exporters, Inc. (FAME), a group of recruitment agencies, which has been asking for exemptions to some of the provisions in the new deployment policy.

The resolution also states that only the newly-hired household service workers (HSWs) are required to undergo competencies assessment under the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and the language and culture training offered by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA). While there are special rules that would be issued on the implementation of the reform package overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) returning to overseas employment after completion of their contracts.

In terms of salary, the Board exempts returning HSWs under existing contracts and those who have completed their contracts within 2006 and processed before March 1, 2007, and maintain the new rule on the US$400 to all returning HSWs who completed contracts before 2006 and returning under new contracts processed before March 1, 2007. The same rule applies to returning HSWs on a new contract and those newly-hired.

The no-placement fee policy has also been maintained despite opposes from recruitment agencies.

“We understand that the no placement-fee policy affects the business of recruitment agencies. Placement fees can be collected from employers so why burden our workers?” Brion said. “Marami sa mga kababayan natin ang nalulubog sa utang dahil sa placement fee, napapanahon naman siguro na alisin na natin sa kanila ang pabigat na ito.”

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) Governing Board has agreed to relax some of the provisions in the new government policy in the deployment of HSWs without compromising the objective of enhancing the welfare and protection being afforded to overseas workers.

This article was first published in on March 23, 2007

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