Senate approves proposed Caregivers’ Welfare Act on third and final reading

(MANILA BULLETIN) Voting 21-0, the Senate approved the proposed bill that seeks to recognize the role of caregivers in national development. 

Approved on third and final reading is Senate Bill No. 2019 or the proposed Caregivers’ Welfare Act, which ensures that caregivers’ rights to decent employment are protected and which affords them monetary and non-monetary benefits. 

“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 (For our compatriots who take care of what should have been done by family members, it is only right that we compensate their service with benefits and protection like other workers in the country),” Senator Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada said. 

Estrada, chairman of the Senate Committee on Labor and Employment said the measure particularly outlines the 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. 

The measure also ensures that the benefits caregivers’ currently receive cannot be reduced; it also entitles caregivers to mandatory overtime pay and night shift differential. 

The senator said caregivers should receive at least the minimum wage applicable in their region.

The bill also protects caregivers against unjust termination of service, safeguards those hired through private employment agencies, and establishes dispute resolution procedures. 

It also outlines the responsibilities of caregivers and the necessities that their employers should provide for them.

The Senate version of the bill also includes a provision 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.

Estrada said the bill aims to provide protection to a “vulnerable but vigorous sector of our society.” 

“Just like the Batas Kasambahay that we celebrated its 10th anniversary today, we hope that this is a step for the continued development and improvement of the condition of our caregivers,” the lawmaker stressed.