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MANILA – The House of Representatives on Monday overwhelmingly approved on third and final reading a bill seeking to institute policies for the protection and welfare of caregivers in the practice of their profession.

Voting 221-0, the chamber approved on final reading House Bill 135 or the proposed Caregivers Welfare Act.

Bataan Rep. Geraldine Roman, one of the authors of the bill, said 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.

“In recognition of the very important role of caregivers in national development, 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,” Roman said.

Under the bill, the Secretary of Labor and Employment shall, through a system of licensing and regulation, ensure the protection of caregivers hired through private employment agencies (PEA) accredited and licensed by the Department of Labor and Employment.

The PEAs shall be liable with the employer for all wages, wage-related benefits, and other benefits due to the caregiver.

Among the responsibilities of the PEAs are: to ensure that caregivers are not charged or levied any recruitment or placement fees whatsoever; ensure that the employment contract between the caregiver and the employer stipulates the terms and conditions of employment and all the benefits prescribed by the measure; and provide a pre-employment orientation briefing to the caregiver and the employer about their rights and responsibilities.

The bill also requires that an employment contract be executed between the caregiver and the employer that shall include the duties and responsibilities of the caregiver, period of employment, compensation, hours of work and proportionate additional payment or overtime, among others. (PNA)

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