Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin Jr. and Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Cooperation in the Deployment of Private Staff.
Private staff are members of the household of Foreign Service Personnel (FSP) and overseas representatives of government agencies who render full-time domestic work under a private employer-employee relationship.
The signing of the MOU, which recognizes private staff as “a special class of overseas Filipino workers [OFW],” establishes new procedures and mechanisms for their deployment. Previously, all private staff endorsed by FSP and attachés to join them in their country of assignment went through the DFA only. With the signing of the MOU, they will have to go through the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration like other OFWs.
Under the Joint Guidelines of the MOU, private staff must be paid the minimum wage of the country of destination, or in its absence, $600.00 per month. This represents a 50-percent increase from the previous minimum wage requirement of $400.00 per month.
Aside from a higher monthly salary with corresponding contributions to Social Security System, PhilHealth and Pag-IBIG, Private staff will also have additional benefits such as Overseas Workers Welfare Administration membership, insurance coverage, including any medical/hospitalization costs not covered by the insurance, and 15 days of paid leave per year, among others.
The Joint Guidelines also provide standards of treatment to ensure that private staff work under humane conditions and are protected from any kind of abuse and any form of maltreatment.
To ensure that private staff understand their rights and privileges, they will now be required to undergo a pre-departure orientation seminar (PDOS) tailor-made for them by OWWA. The PDOS will cover modules on their work contract as well as the grievance mechanism and legal remedies in case of contract violations.
Image courtesy of DFA