Decent Work for Domestic Workers

Opening address at the 3rd National Domestic Workers’ Day 2016 celebration

By Simon Hills, Officer-in-Charge & Employment and Livelihood Development Officer of the ILO Country Office for the Philippines at the 3rd National Domestic Workers’ Day 2016 celebration, Quezon City, 24 January 2016

Statement | Quezon City, Philippines | 24 January 2016
  • Undersecretary Lagunzad and officials of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE),
  • Members of the Philippine Technical Working Group on Decent Work for Domestic Workers,
  • Distinguished officials from key government agencies implementing the Batas Kasambahay,
  • To all our kasambahays and household employers,
  • Guests, ladies and gentlemen, magandang umaga sa inyong lahat (Good morning to all of you)!
It is an honour for the ILO to celebrate with you the National Domestic Workers Day, which also marks the 3rd anniversary of the Batas Kasambahay (Domestic Workers Act).

Thank you and congratulations to the members of the Philippine Domestic Work Technical Working Group for making this celebration possible.

It is heart-warming to see domestic workers celebrating this day with their household employers. Thank you for your presence and support.

It is also encouraging to see the strong commitment of government agencies and social partners as they celebrate this day with us to promote decent work for domestic workers, not just in the Philippines but also abroad.

The theme for this year’s celebration, “Unity, Solidarity in caring for Domestic Workers”, reminds us that behind the success of working women and men are domestic workers who care for our children and look after our home and family.

Domestic workers are workers with rights and responsibilities as we all are. It is time to care and do our share by ensuring that decent work starts in our own home and community. It may be as simple as respecting their right to rest and assuring decent working and living conditions.

The Philippines’ ratification of the ILO Domestic Workers Convention, 2011 (No. 189) in 2012 triggered its entry into force. Domestic workers who care for families and households must have the same basic labour rights as other workers.

These rights include:
  • reasonable working hours,
  • weekly rest of at least 24 consecutive hours,
  • a limit on in-kind payment,
  • clear information on terms and conditions of employment, and
  • respect for fundamental principles and rights at work, including freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining.
To date, the policy, legal and institutional reforms and measures that the government, workers and employers groups, introduced and continue to make, serves as a good model for other countries; not only in Asia, but throughout the world.

These measures include improving legislations; strengthening public institutions; enhancing the capacity of workers and employers organizations; and awareness-raising and knowledge sharing among government, workers, employers, domestic workers, partners and stakeholders.

While we recognize what has been achieved, we know there’s more to be done. The ILO will continue to support our constituents – government, workers, and employers organizations to enhance strategies and instruments on the employment situation of domestic workers while keeping, if not, strengthening the harmonious relationship between them and their employers in the households.

Once excluded from labour laws, domestic workers now have the same basic labour rights and protection as other workers; but we hope to see all domestic workers, in the Philippines and other parts of the world enjoying the same rights and protection, so let’s keep the momentum!

Thank you and Mabuhay!