Bataan 1st District Rep. Geraldine Roman expressed her joy as the Caregivers’ Welfare Act, which she authored in the House of Representatives, has been signed into law by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. “This is a big step for our caregivers, where we can give them more protection in their livelihood,” Congresswoman Roman said in a Facebook post on Friday.
The Caregivers’ Welfare Act, or Republic Act 11965, aims to protect the rights and welfare of domestic caregivers by establishing standards of employment and the proper course for the redress of grievances. The law mandates the Department of Labor and Employment to develop a model employment contract for caregivers, which shall be accessible to all. The contract shall specify the working hours, wages, benefits, and other terms and conditions of the caregiver’s service. The law also requires employers to provide caregivers with basic necessities, such as three adequate meals per day and a humane sleeping arrangement. In cases of illness or injury, employers must give caregivers time to rest and assistance without loss of benefits. The law also grants caregivers the right to terminate their contract due to verbal or emotional abuse, inhumane treatment, commission of a crime or offense, and violation of contract terms and conditions by the employer or household. On the other hand, employers can also terminate the contract with the caregiver if the latter committed misconduct, gross or habitual neglect of duties, fraud or willful breach of trust, commission of a crime or offense, and violation of contract terms and conditions. The law also stipulates that caregivers must receive mandatory statutory benefits provided by law, such as social security, health insurance, and service incentive leave. They must also be paid on time and given a pay slip for their salary breakdown.
The law also recognizes the importance of training and certification for caregivers, and requires the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority to develop and implement a competency-based training program for them. Roman said the law is a recognition of the valuable contribution of caregivers to the society and the economy. “Caregivers must be protected against abuse, harassment, violence, and economic exploitation. These policies must be enacted into law to maintain excellent and globally competitive standards for the caregiver professional service,” she said. The law was passed by the House of Representatives on November 24, 2020, and by the Senate on October 4, 2021. It was signed by President Marcos on December 1, 2023.