What is the significance of the kasambahay law?

RA 10361 is highly significant because it underscores the need to afford special protection to domestic workers or kasambahay, the sector of workers, which in turn, affords household employers who are workers themselves the opportunity to focus on work elsewhere for their livelihood.

What are the obligations of the employer to a kasambahay under the law?

Under RA 10361, household employers should treat the kasambahay with dignity, not subject him/her to any kind of abuse or inflict any form of physical violence or harassment; provide the basic necessities of the kasambahay at least three adequate meals a day and humane sleeping arrangements that ensure safety; provide appropriate rest and assistance in case of illness and injuries sustained during the service without loss of benefits, respect the privacy of the kasambahay extends to all forms of communication and personal effects; grant the kasambahay access to outside communication during free time, or even during work time in case of an emergency; afford the kasambahay the opportunity to finish basic education and to allow access to higher education or training and register all the kasambahay in the Registry of Domestic Workers in the barangay where the employer resides.

Are employers required to enroll a kasambahay with the SSS, PhilHealth and Pag-Ibig?

Yes.  Sec. 30 of RA 10361 provides that the kasambahay who has rendered at least one month of service shall be covered by the SSS, PhilHealth and Pag-Ibig and shall be entitled to all the benefits in accordance with law. This means that the employer has to register both himself and the kasambahay in these three agencies.

Can her placement agency and employer legally withhold and deduct a portion of her salary for the processing of her employment?

According to Section 3, Rule II of the Implementing Rules and Regulation (IRR) of Republic Act (R.A.) 10361, known as the “Kasambahay Law,” the cost of hiring a household helper is to be shouldered by the employer and in no case shall the recruitment fee be charged against the former. In addition to this, the said rule also expressly states that the cost for the pre-employment requirement, including NBI clearance and medical certificate, shall be borne by the employer.

The only time the law allows the employer to recover the expenses for the deployment of a household helper is when the latter leaves without justifiable reason within six months from the date of employment. (Sec. 3, Rule II, Id.). This provision is not applicable to the situation of your cousin given the detail that she has been working with her employer for more than two years already.