Philippines – Household Help

For a number of countries, household help living within the same premises as their employer is not widely practice. In the Philippines, having household help or “kasambahay” has always been a part of local custom and culture.

While the Filipinos’ will always prefer to hire help by word of mouth or via referrals, there are private employment agencies that do provide this service.

Such agencies, however, will not always bear total responsibility for the kasambahay’s training, skills and good character.  Hence, direct hiring through referrals provided by family and friends is still deemed the recommended way of initially screening one’s domestic help.

The Republic Act 10361 known as the Domestic Workers Act, covering the protection and welfare of domestic workers, was enacted into law in 2013 and yet, people are still confused about some, if not most, of the terms.

Under the said law, kasambahays are now treated as regular employees whereby an employment contract will exist between employer and the kasambahay.

The R.A. defined a “kasambahay” as one of the following:

  • General household help, otherwise known as ”katulong”
  • Nursemaid or “yaya”
  • Cook
  • Gardener
  • Laundry person
  • Any minor working as domestic help 15 years or older but not exceeding age of 18 years
  • Anyone who regularly performs domestic work in one household on an occupational basis, also known as a live-out arrangement

On the other hand, the following, are not considered as kasambahay:

  • Service providers
  • Family drivers
  • Children under foster family management
  • Anyone who works occasionally or sporadically as a sideline and not on an occupational or regular basis.

The law stipulates that the employment contract should be written in a language or dialect understood by both employer and the kasambahay, and should contain their duties and responsibilities; period of employment; compensation and authorized deductions; and work hours.

Securing the following clearances is also a standard requirement: medical/health certificate issued by a local government health officer; barangay and police clearance; NBI clearance; NSO-authenticated copy of the birth certificate, or other documents that show the age of the kasambahay.

As for compensation and benefits,  the Kasambahay Law sets a minimum wage for your kasambahay/stay-in help: Php2,500 if working within the National Capital Region.

However, in actual practice, the average monthly salary of kasambahays employed within Metro Manila is between Php8,000.00 to Php10,000.00 inclusive of SSS and food allowance. It is customary to give incentives plus a salary increase after 6 months of continuous service.

Furthermore, under the law, the kasambahay is additionally entitled to the following after a month of service:

  • Social Security System (SSS, quick link to contribution schedule)
  • Philippine Health Insurance System (PhilHealth, useful link)
  • Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-IBIG, link to complete guide)
  • 13thMonth pay

[For kasambahays that may be amenable to less than Php5,000.00 a month, the employer is required to shoulder the premium payments or contributions.]

Stay-in kasambahays are also entitled to basic necessities like food, shelter, and assistance during illness.

After a year of service, the kasambahay is entitled to 5 days of paid leave.  These benefits are mandatory, and processing these must be ensured by the employer.

For the protection of the employer, the law states the valid reasons for pre-terminating the employment contract with a kasambahay before expiry:

  • misconduct or willful disobedience;
  • habitual neglect or inefficiency in their duties;
  • fraud;
  • crime/offense committed against you or any family member;
  • any other employment contract violation

On the other hand, any employer guilty of the following will provide valid reasons for a kasambahay to leave before contract expiry:

  • physical or verbal or emotional abuse by the employer or any member of the household;
  • crime or offense committed against them;
  • any disease that may harm the kasambahay and/or any member of the household;
  • any employment contract violation

External References:

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Last update: 08 May 2020

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