Senators on Tuesday, August 29, 2023, approved the measure recognizing the role of caregivers in national development, ensuring their rights to decent employment and affording them monetary and non-monetary benefits.
With a vote of 21-0, the proposed “Caregivers’ Welfare Act” or Senate Bill No. 2019 was approved on third and final reading.
“Para sa mga kababayan natin na pinupunan ang pag-aaruga ng dapat sana ay ginagampanan ng mga miyembro ng pamilya, nararapat lamang na tumbasan natin ang kanilang serbisyo ng mga benepisyo at proteksyon gaya ng iba pang manggagawa sa bansa,” Senator Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada said.
This measure outlines guidelines for preparing and entering employment contracts, submitting pre-employment requirements, determining work hours and minimum wage, and providing payment of wages, leaves, and other benefits. It also ensures that the benefits being currently received by caregivers cannot be reduced.
In addition, the bill protects them against unjust termination of service, safeguards those hired through private employment agencies, and establishes dispute resolution procedures. Lastly, it outlines the responsibilities of caregivers and the necessities that their employers should provide for them.
Under SB 2019, caregivers are also entitled to mandatory overtime pay and night shift differential.
The Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development said that caregivers should receive at least the minimum wage applicable in their region.
The Senate bill that has been approved includes a provision for granting caregivers an annual service incentive leave of no less than five days with pay, provided they have served for at least a year. In addition, other leave benefits already stipulated by existing laws will also be granted.
They will also be covered by the Social Security System (SSS), Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), and the Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF) or Pag-IBIG and be accorded all benefits in accordance with the pertinent provisions of the law.
“Para sa kapakanan ng ating mga caregivers, ang Senado ay nagkaisa upang aprubahan ang ‘Caregivers’ Welfare Act.’ Ito po ay isang mahalaga at espesyal na pagkakataon para sa inyong lingkod. Tayo ay nagpasa ng panukalang batas na magbibigay ng proteksiyon sa isang ‘vulnerable but vigorous’ sector of our society. Katulad ng Batas Kasambahay na ipinagdiwang natin ang ika-sampung taon ngayon, umaasa tayo na ito ay isang hakbang para sa patuloy na pag-unlad at pagbuti ng kalagayan ng ating mga caregivers,” said Estrada.
The measure covers those employed and working within the country in private homes, nursing or care facilities, and other residential settings, whether directly hired by the employer or through Public Employment Service Office (PESO) or private employment agencies (PEAs).