Saturday, October 6, 2012

OFW Standard Employment Contract

After reaching a new Standard Employment Contract (SEC) for domestic workers with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), the Philippines is looking to come up with a similar agreement with other Middle East countries, according to Vice President Jejomar C. Binay.

He said bilateral negotiation is also under way with the Jordanian government for the crafting of an employment agreement similar to that reached with KSA.

"We hope to reach a similar agreement with Jordanian government," said Binay, who did not discount the possibility of reaching similar bilateral deals with other Middle East countries.

The Vice President has, in fact, directed the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to start negotiating with its foreign counterpart in Jordan.

Binay, the Presidential Adviser on Overseas Filipino Workers' Concerns, said the SEC has become a model for future employee-employer contracts in other destination countries for Filipino household service workers (HSWs), particularly Middle East.

The Vice President also lauded the Saudi government, saying it "has extended to the Philippine government all the needed assistance to protect our workers."

"With the new agreement, both governments can work together in enforcing a stronger regulatory regime for the deployment of HSWs and ensure that abuse and exploitation of our HSWs are stopped," he added.

One of the provisions in the contract is the increase of the minimum wage of HSWs from $ 200 to $ 400 per month.

Binay said with the SEC in place, employers are now required to pay HSWS via the banking system to ensure that wages are paid fully and on time.

HSWs are also required to be given at least eight hours of rest daily and one day off work per week.

Moreover, a worker is entitled to return to the Philippines for a paid vacation leave of 30 days for every two years of service with a round-trip economy class ticket.

In case the HSW decides to renew his/her contract with the employer, he/she is entitled to receive an additional one month salary.

In case of death, the employer is responsible for the repatriation of the HSW remains and personal belongings to the Philippines as soon as legally possible and without undue delay.

If the repatriation of remains is not possible, the same may be disposed of after obtaining the approval of one of the HSW's next of kin or by the Philippine embassy.

Furthermore, the Vice President emphasized that employers can no longer keep the passports of their HSWs.

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