- The estimated number of household (or domestic) workers in the Philippines ranges from 600,000 to 2.5 million. (ILO 2004) Of the estimated 2.5 million household workers, Visayan Forum, an NGO concerned with the plight of household workers, estimates that 1 million are children.
- Women's performance in elections was as dismal in 2004 when the average proportion of women in key elected posts was no more than 17%. (COMELEC, 1995-2004).
- Majority of household workers are female, with figures ranging from a high of 92 % from the 2002 NSO Labor Force Survey to a low of 86 % from the 1995 survey.
- Household workers tend to be very young, usually aged 15-17 years old. Child household workers are perhaps the second largest group of working children, next to agriculture workers, with estimates ranging from 230,000 to 631,000to1 million.
- The abuses of household workers remain rampant and hidden today despite strong public outcry. These abuses happen because household work is a lowly regarded work. Despite their vital contribution to the economy and society, household workers are considered to be one of the most vulnerable sectors in society.
The most common types of abuses against household workers include:
Exposure to physical, psychological and sexual abuse Exposure to harmful and hazardous
working conditions Low, unpaid or delayed wages.
- Vulnerability to trafficking and debt bondage
- Long working hours with no days off
- Performing multiple and all-around work
- Working in isolation and without support networks
- Lack of social security or health benefits
- Lack of opportunities for education and self-improvement
- Exposure to physical, psychological and sexual abuse Exposure to harmful and hazardous
- In 1996, Senator Francisco Tatad filed a Senate Bill for household helpers during the 10`h Congress, as a response to the recommendations of the 1st National Consultation on Child Domestic Workers in the Philippines.
- In 1998, the global community noticed the plight of child household workers as the Philippines launched the Global March Against Child Labor, a worldwide movement instrumental in the approval of ILO Convention 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labor.
- In 1999, Rep. Juan "Jack" Enrile filed during the 11`h Congress the most comprehensive version of the law, naming it "Batas Kasambahay." In support of this move, the Visayan Forum (VF) immediately launched comprehensive multi-sectoral consultations in Batangas, Davao, Bacolod, and Manila leading to a strong consensus on the need for a Magna Carta for Household Workers.
- By year 2000, the 11th Congress unanimously approved HB 5804 known as the "Magna Carta for Domestic Workers or Batas Kasambahay; " however, the Senate counterpart version reached only the 1s` reading.
- Again in 2001, during the 12`h Congress another Batas Kasambahay bill was filed and unanimously approved, but the presidential impeachment proceedings cut short lobbying at the Senate.
- In 2004, during the 13`h Congress, Rep. Enrile again introduced Batas Kasambahay as House Bill 1606; Rep. Carmen L. Cari also filed House Bills 3118 and 3119, to increase minimum wage and set mandatory PhilHealth coverage for all househelpers, respectively. At about the same time, the Senate Committee on Labor and Employment started hearings for SB 1772 filed by Sen. Jinggoy Estrada; SB Nos 202, 860, 1678 and 1692 were also filed by Senators Pimentel, L. Estrada, Santiago, Villarand Lapid.
- Since 2005, local government units started passing local ordinances to register and provide programs for household workers. These included Quezon City, Bacolod, and Makati. New drafts for approval have been prepared in the cities of Baguio , Batangas, Davao, Bulacan, Daet and lately Mandaluyong, Marikina and Taguig.
- Local and overseas household workers jointly called for the swift passage of Batas Kasambahay as the first priority Ten-PointAgenda during the first National Domestic Workers Summit held in 2005.
- Over one million signatures in favor of the swift passage of the Batas Kasambahay bill were gathered and presented to the Senate in 2005.
- According to a 2005 survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations, 87% of Filipinos strongly agree that there should be a law addressing the domestic work sector.
- On April 24, 2006, President Arroyo issued Presidential Proclamation 1051, which declared April 30th of every year as "a special day to honor and give recognition to the hidden, yet massive army of everyday workers, to generate greater awareness of the importance and contribution of domestic workers." A few days later on April 30, 2006, the nation celebrated its first official National Domestic Workers' Day or Pambansang Araw ng Kasambahay.
- On November 14, 2006, Senator Jinggoy Estrada delivered a privilege speech in support of the bill. The bill was approved by the Senate before the close of the 13th Congress.
- As of this writing, three Kasambahay bills have been filed in the Senate for the 14th Congress, namely SB 201 authored by Sen. Lito Lapid, SB 157 authored by Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, and SB 77 authored by Sen. Loren Legarda.
The Philippines is duty-bound to implement the provisions of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), specifically the UN CEDAW Committee's Concluding Comments, which among others, urges the government to "adopt effective measures in the formal labor market to eliminate occupational segregation, narrow and close the wage gap between women and men, and enhance the situation of women in the informal economy.".
Household work is a gendered occupation, such that a great majority of household workers are women and girls. The NCRFW advocates for a legislation that not only protects household workers as workers, but also as women (and girls), with the following essential features:
- By year 2000, the 11th Congress unanimously approved HB 5804 known as the "Magna Carta for Domestic Workers or Batas Kasambahay;" however, the Senate counterpart version reached only the 1s` reading.
- Upholds the rights and dignity of household workers;
- Recognizes the special vulnerability of household workers to various kinds of abuse, as their workplaces are the private homes of their employers, and their work are hidden from public view, thus the need for special protection beyond those accorded to workers in other sectors;
- Revises the Labor Code's definition of household service from "services in the employer's home which are ... desirable for the maintenance and enjoyment thereof and includes ministering to the personal comfort and convenience of the members of the employer's household." to "tasks ascribed as normal household chores within a specific household";
- Provides for the use of a formal contract to govern employer-employee relationship that clearly identifies the scope of work to be rendered.
- Provides for a realistic minimum wage that is regularly adjusted in accordance with rising cost of living;
- Provides for other benefits such as SSS, Philhealth;
- Prevents bonded labor;
- The Philippines ratified ILO Convention 29 on Forced Labor Convention.
- Prevents physical, sexual, mental, and economic abuse of workers;
- Mandates registration of household workers; and.
- Mandates the roles of government agencies in providing gender- responsive and/or child-friendly services to the Household workers, settling disputes, and scheduling of penalties against violators.