A Bataan solon on Thursday lauded the plenary approval of the proposed “Caregivers Welfare Act” which seeks the protection and welfare of caregivers in the practice of their profession.
Bataan Rep. Geraldine Roman, principal author of House Bill 227, also thanked her colleagues led by Speaker Martin Romualdez “for the swift passage of this measure and ensuring the strong accountability and implementation efforts to turn the strategy into action.”
With an overwhelming 271 votes, the House approved last Monday HB 227 which aims to “recognize the role of caregivers in national development and to institute policies in the practice of the profession with the end in view of developing competent caregivers whose standards of professional service shall be excellent and globally competitive.”
Roman, chairperson of the House committee on women and gender equality, said professional and responsive caregiving is very vital to medically and physically challenged individuals.
The country’s aging population, the increase in the number of children born with medical issues and prevalent illnesses are the reasons the demand for caregiving service continues to rise in the Philippines, she added.
“Policies must be enacted to protect the welfare and well-being of caregivers, as well as to maintain excellent and globally competitive standards for the caregiver professional service,” Roman said.
The legislator from Bataan mentioned countries such as the United States, Canada and those in the Middle East and Europe and even in Asian countries like Japan and Korea prefer Filipino caregivers because of their unconditional and genuine care for their clients. Roman stated that policies in the practice of the caregiving profession must be instituted to protect the rights of caregivers and to promote their welfare towards a decent employment.
“Caregivers must also be protected against abuse, harassment, violence and economic exploitation,” Roman said.
Section 4 of the proposed legislation requires that an employment contract be executed by, and between the caregiver and the employer, before the commencement of the service in a language or dialect understood by both parties.
The contract shall also include the following: (a) Duties and responsibilities of the caregiver; (b) Period of employment; (c) Compensation; (d) Authorized deductions; (e) Hours of work and proportionate additional payment or overtime pay; (f) Rest days and allowable leaves; (g) Board, lodging and medical attention; (h) Termination of employment; and (i) Any other lawful condition agreed upon by both parties.
The measure also lists several requirements that the employer may require prior to the execution of the contract, such as the following: training certificate, medical or health certificate, or a police or National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) clearance.
Roman added that the sudden increase in the popularity of professional caregivers in the Philippines and abroad has prompted the government to require all caregiving schools in the country to register their caregiving program with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), which is tasked to manage and supervise technical education and skills development, so that each caregiver who will be working here and abroad will be equipped with all the skills needed to perform the job properly and efficiently.
Roman said that these proposed policies must also be enacted law to maintain excellent and globally competitive standards for the caregiver professional service.
Senate Bill No. 1396, a counterpart measure of HB 227, is pending with the Senate committees on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development.