10 November 2011

Househelps may now join Pag-IBIG

Vice President and housing czar Jejomar C. Binay announced Wednesday that domestic workers or “kasambahays” can now become members of the Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-IBIG) and can avail themselves of multi-purpose, calamity and housing loans.
Binay said employers are mandated to register their househelps as members of Pag-IBIG and to pay a counterpart contribution.
“Under the law, domestic workers earning P1,500 and below shall contribute 1 percent of their salary, while those earning P1,500 and above, shall contribute 2 percent of their salary. Their employers are required to contribute 2 percent as counterpart,” said Binay, the chairman of the Pag-IBIG Board of Trustees.
According to Binay, domestic workers may then avail themselves of benefits such as multi-purpose loans, calamity loans and housing loans, among others, upon completion of 24-monthly contributions.
The Vice President also expressed his support for the passage of House Bill 553 or the Magna Carta for Household Helpers and its counterpart bill in the Senate, Senate Bill 78 or the Act of Providing for Additional Benefits and Protection to House Helpers.
Binay has requested President Aquino to certify the Magna Carta as an urgent bill.
“Our domestic workers deserve access to decent and humane work. The said bill will ensure freedom, equity and security for domestic workers, and will greatly reduce the incidence of labor-related trafficking,” he said.
House Bill 553 enshrines the right of household workers to pursue an education and seeks to address issues on wages, leave benefits, social security and national health systems coverage.
Binay said the bill’s approval will show the Philippine government’s commitment to protecting the rights of domestic workers.
Article 6 of the bill enumerates the special provisions for education of household helpers.
Section 1 states that a household helper who is of legal age shall be allowed by the employer to pursue his or her education, which shall be shouldered by the former.
Section 2, meanwhile, provides that minor household helpers shall also be allowed formal or non-formal education, with the cost of education deducted from the helper’s monthly salary.
Section 3 of the bill provides guidelines on employer initiatives for skills development of helpers.
Meanwhile, the Vice President also cited the Senate for pushing for the early ratification of the International Labor Organization’s Domestic Workers Convention of 2011.
The Vice President expressed optimism that the ratification of the Convention will be facilitated through the summit, along with the concerted efforts of the Department of Labor and Employment, trade unions, non-governmental organizations and domestic workers.
“Our domestic workers are more than just people who help keep our houses in order, who lend a hand so that we can live in greater comfort. They are family, and they help us raise our children just as surely as they run our kitchens,” Binay said.
“If the hands that rock the cradle rule the world, then we cannot let those hands wither and fade because of neglect or ingratitude. It is time that we treat family properly and you have our firmest commitment that family will never be abandoned or left behind,” he added.




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