National › Philippines adopts work guidelines for Japan-bound maids
National ( )
The Philippine government has adopted a set of guidelines governing the recruitment and deployment of Filipinos to work as housekeepers in Japan.
Jocelyn Rey of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration told Kyodo News the guidelines, expected to take effect June 19, detail the roles and responsibilities of recruiters and employers; the qualifications and scope of work of the housekeepers; the terms and conditions of employment; and the monitoring process, among others.
It will be the first time Filipino household workers will be accepted in Japan after the latter allowed in July last year foreign nationals to engage in housekeeping services in its so-called national strategic special zones. The present agreement allows the deployment of Filipino household workers to Kanagawa Prefecture, one of the zones.
“This is long awaited by our housekeepers who would want to go to non-traditional markets. This provides our overseas workers another option. If they find the Middle East to be too far and too scary for them, Japan is something new,” Rey said in an interview.
“Japan is a non-traditional market for our housekeepers. Many are anticipating this because it’s closer to us, and the salary is higher, and Filipinos generally have a good impression about Japan,” she added.
According to the resolution, which was dated June 2, “specified organizations” in Japan that will accept foreign housekeepers and act as direct employers will first have to seek accreditation from the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Japan.
Once accredited, they can place job orders, which will then be filled by “sending organizations” (licensed recruitment agencies) in the Philippines. The collection of “placement fees” from applicants is prohibited.
The agreement says applicant housekeepers must be at least 23 years old, have at least one year of work experience in housekeeping services, and a certification from the Philippines’ Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.
Those who will particularly be engaged in “daily life care and necessary protection of children, which includes picking up and dropping off of children,” will be required to have passed at least Level 4 of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test.
Successful applicants are guaranteed to receive at least the minimum hourly wage of 905 yen (about $8.4), the standard rate in Japan, and at least 35 hours of work per week. They are also entitled to overtime pay.
“The amount of remuneration paid to Filipino housekeepers shall not be less than the amount received by a Japanese counterpart who engages in equivalent housekeeping services,” the resolution states.
Rey clarified that a worker may serve different households for varying number of hours in a day, depending on instructions from the employer, so long as the minimum of 35 hours per week is met.
Since the workers will not live in the households they will be serving, their employer will help them find accommodation, the cost of which will be borne by the workers. But the employer will shoulder the cost of transportation between the accommodation and wherever the workers are deployed for housekeeping services.
The duration of the job contract will depend on the offer of the employer, but it should not be more than three years in total.
Rey said the resolution has a provision to safeguard the welfare of the workers.
The Philippines currently also sends household workers to various countries in the Middle East, Singapore, and Hong Kong, among others.