Domestic workers are among the lowest-paid sectors among overseas Filipino workers. Many of them are not aware of their rights and privileges, so they are subjected to abuse and maltreatment. If placement agencies abuse them by charging excessive fees, their employers could also take advantage of them. Let’s understand what the common signs of a bad employer are.
Asks you to clean the house on your day off.
You may consider yourself lucky you’re given a day off, as many domestic workers don’t have this right. But if before you go out of the house, you’ll be asked to cook breakfast and tend the children, and wash dishes when you arrive at night. Employers need to be aware that technically, you’re given 24 hours of free time, but even at a shorter time than this (9 am until 9 pm) some employers bother to ask their helpers to do household chores.
Do not leave food allowance when going away.
Some employers fail to be sensitive to the needs of their helpers. When they’re away on vacation, they fail (or refuse) to leave food allowance or cash for the helper’s consumption in their absence.
They do not include helpers when ordering food.
Sometimes when the family goes out, the helper who also serves as a nanny to the kids is often asked to join. However, when it’s time to eat and order at a restaurant, the helper is left to tend the child (spoon-feed, arrange the high chair, etc.) and left out in the dining. It would be fine if she’s going to eat after attending to her tasks, but sometimes they’re only going to share food with the kid. Worse, they’re not included in the food order.
Picky with money.
To deter abuse, employers make it a point to ask for a receipt to validate the amount spent on the household worker’s grocery tasks. But some employers become overly picky, and even on the smallest of items bought at the wet market, they ask for receipts. Also, some employers are not mindful of the cost of commodities that they budget too little for their helper to buy weekly cost of food and needs at home.
Deprive helper of sleep.
Just because household workers are home-based doesn’t mean their on-call 24-hours a day. Many of them stay late at night waiting for their employers to go home, their children to sleep, or for laundry to finish. Helpers wake up early to prepare breakfast, clean the car, or wake up the kids for school. Helpers are human beings too. They need enough rest to be able to work correctly.
Do not offer privacy.
Some employers have smaller homes, and that likely means there is no separate space for a helper’s privacy. Some are offered beds, not bedrooms, right next to the kitchen, and one helper was even asked to sleep in a makeshift bed inside the bathroom.
Late payment of wages.
Too many helpers who are underpaid, it’s a blessing to be paid the right wages. But for those who receive them, a possible issue is that they’re not paid on time. There is a law that requires employers to pay salaries of their household workers not later than seven days after the wage period. So consider your employer a bad one if he or she fails to fulfill this obligation. Worse, we heard about helpers not being paid for their salaries for months!