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Switzerland Sets Minimum Wage for Domestic Helpers
Effective next year, Switzerland will implement a new minimum wage for domestic workers in that central European country—the first such law implemented by the Swiss federal government following reports of widespread salary abuse.
In a release posted on the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration website, the POEA listed the new minimum wages per hour for domestic helpers working in Switzerland:
* Sfr 18.50 (about P815) for workers without experience;
* Sfr 20 (about P881) for those with five years of experience but without professional training; and
* Sfr 22 (about P969) for workers with Swiss-approved professional training.
The ordinance will be effective from January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2013.
The POEA said that prior to the passage of the new ordinance, Switzerland did not prescribe minimum wages for domestic helpers.
“The Swiss law does not allow minimum wages except under exceptional circumstances, such as repeated salary abuse in a particular sector,” the POEA added.
A report by the Swiss online community news site Geneva Lunch meanwhile said the measure is aimed to protect domestic workers who have flocked to Switzerland since 2007 from low-wage countries that are part of the enlarged European Union.
“The federal government undertook a study in 2008, recently completed, and it consulted with the cantons [administrative divisions of Switzerland], who have also studied wages for domestic workers. It concluded that domestic worker salary abuse is widespread and routine,” the report added.
The new law applies only to private domestic helpers who are employed for a minimum of five hours a week by the same employer.
Excluded from the ordinance are grandparents, spouses, registered concubines, partners and employees whose main job is childcare, such as babysitters and nannies.
All cantons will be required to adopt the minimum wage measure, except Geneva which has an existing minimum wage ordinance that prescribes a slightly higher wage than the Federal scale.
In 2009, the POEA has recorded only 9 Filipinos deployed in Switzerland as domestic helpers out of the over 200 OFWs there.
The Commission on Filipinos Overseas meanwhile estimates there are over 22,000 Filipinos in that European country, some 14,000 of whom are considered permanent residents.