MANILA, Philippines - Labor officials on Tuesday cautioned Canada-bound Filipino caregivers to read the fine print in their contracts first and make sure their employers meet the requirements.
In a statement, labor secretary Marianito Roque said the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) should ensure the prospective employers comply particularly with the requirement to shoulder their medical coverage and two-way transportation.
Roque said employers and agencies wanting to hire Filipino caregivers are also prohibited from collecting recruitment fees.
Other requirements include that the caregiver could be terminated only for just cause, and that in case of work-related death, the employer is also responsible for the repatriation of remains of the worker.
Roque cited reports from Filipino Labor Attache in Toronto Frank Luna who noted agencies targeting Filipino caregivers already abroad fleeced their victims by as much as $7,000 in placement fees.
These are in addition to transport and other processing costs for care giving jobs in Canada, he said.
The Labor secretary said the agencies prefer offshore workers to avoid strict processing rules in Manila, but added only fake employers and unscrupulous agencies are scared of the rules.
Roque also noted that Luna received queries from employers and agencies in Canada inquiring on conditions in the employment of Filipino caregivers.
He said the reform package on the employment and deployment of Filipino household service workers (HSW) promulgated by the DOLE in late 2006 provided for the conditions to be complied with by foreign employers wanting to hire Filipino caregivers.
He said the policy reforms reflect the requirements of Service Canada from employers contracting for the services of foreign temporary workers under the expanded labor market opinion (ELMO) in two Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Alberta.
Under the ELMO program, Canadian employers shall cover all recruitment costs including transportation of foreign caregivers to and from Canada.
Employers are also being required to pay for medical coverage until the caregiver is eligible for provincial health insurance coverage.
Roque said these requirements should warn OFWs and workers against individuals and agencies offering them caregiving jobs in Canada but without necessarily complying with the requirements.
He issued the warning in particular to OFWs who are outside of the Philippines seeking caregiving jobs in Canada.
Also, he said that in view of the acute shortage in healthcare services in Canada, only bonafide employers in this country can readily accept Philippine conditions on the employment and deployment of Filipino caregivers. -GMANews.TV