Recruitment agencies must protect deployed OFWs

Posted at 09/27/2012 2:56 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said a licensed recruitment agency's responsibility toward its hired OFW does not end when the worker is deployed abroad.

“The recruitment agency has the continuous obligation to ensure protection of workers, especially domestic workers,” said DOLE Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz.

Baldoz pointed out that the governing board of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) has required the highest degree of protection for overseas household service workers, owing to the vulnerable nature of their employment.

“We shall hold recruiters true to their responsibility and accountable to the POEA to ensure that foreign employers faithfully comply with their legal and contractual obligations to our domestic workers,” said Baldoz, who also sits as chairman of the POEA Governing Board.

For his part, POEA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac echoed Baldoz' warning by adding that those who fail to abide by their responsibility to protect OFWs could face cancellation of their licenses, depending on the gravity and frequency of the offenses.

Cacdac said such legal and contractual obligations include humane treatment, payment of salaries and benefits, and notification of the Philippine embassy about any significant development affecting the condition of domestic workers.

Also, the recruitment agency must assist in the settlement of disputes and report to the POEA any significant or important situation experienced by a deployed domestic worker.

The number of case filed by OFWs against their recruitment agencies have increased over the last five years, Cacdac said.

“Recruitment agencies shall be held accountable for incidents of abuse, exploitation, or breach of contract committed by household employers against our domestic workers,” said Cacdac.