Jinggoy: Protect caregivers

December 8, 2022 PS Jun M. Sarmiento 283 views

SENATOR Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada chair of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment, and Human Resources Development on Thursday will get the ball rolling on bills seeking to protect caregivers against abuse, harassment, violence, and exploitation.

Furthermore, the bill will require the grant of benefits, including the monetization of unused annual service incentive leaves.

“Nais nating bigyan hindi lang ng insentibo pati na rin ng dignidad ang mga caregivers sa lahat ng sulok sa ating bansa,” said Estrada, author of Senate Bill No. 1440 or the proposed “Caregivers Welfare Act.”

Estrada’s committee has scheduled a hearing on December 12, 2022 (Monday) on the measure, along with similar bills filed by Senators Loren Legarda, Sonny Angara, Francis Tolentino, and Ramon Revilla Jr.

In highlighting the importance of the measure, Estrada said that while there is a high demand for their services here and abroad, caregivers are not given what is due them in terms of benefits.

“Oftentimes, caregivers are not given sufficient wages on time and are subjected to carrying out their tasks beyond work hours. In cognizance of the vital work of our caregivers, it is only apt that the government recognize their profession to address the lack of employment protection and benefits,” the lawmaker said.

Estrada’s SB 1440 provides guidelines for the preparation and execution of employment contracts, submission of pre-employment requirements, hours of work, minimum wage, payment of wages, leaves and other benefits, non-diminution of benefits, protection from unjust termination of service, protection of those hired through private employment agencies, settlement of disputes, duties of caregivers and the basic necessities that their employers should provide them.

Estrada is proposing an eight-hour work shift, subject to mandatory payment of overtime pay for extended shift hours. Also, he said the minimum wage for caregivers shall not be less than the applicable minimum wage in the region.

Estrada has also included a provision on the grant of annual service incentive leave of at least five days with pay for a caregiver who has rendered at least one year of service and the unused portion of the annual leave shall be cumulative or carried over to the succeeding years.

Unused leaves shall be convertible to cash, he added.

Estrada is also pushing to have caregivers under the Social Security System (SSS), Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), and the Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF) or Pag-IBIG and to be accorded all benefits in accordance with the pertinent provisions of the law.

“I actually filed this bill as early as 2014. I re-filed this bill para mabigyang buhay ulit itong panukalang batas na makapagbibigay insentibo at proteksyon para sa ating mga caregivers,” he said.