Saturday, November 18, 2006


Surprisingly, labor recruiters reacted strongly to this aspect of the consultations. In fact, the Philippine Association of Service Exporters Inc. (PASEI) said it supported the POEA’s new minimum wage policy for domestic helpers, but wanted any increase to be “ladderized” or based on the actual skills of the domestics as well as their experience.

Although just a plan PASEI suggested a graduated scheme that would peg at $200 the monthly wage of first-time domestics, $300 for those with additional skills such as sewing, dressmaking, cooking and babysitting; and $400 for those who double as governesses, tutors or caretakers.

Baldoz earlier said the wage increase would be enforced by mid-November as the country would begin deploying domestics with more skills then.

PASEI’s position contradicted that of the Federated Association of Manpower Exporters which opposed outright the doubling of the wages.

Both groups, however, agreed that the unilateral hike in wages would ruin the recruitment industry and would be unfair to foreign employers. They also warned it could lead to a decline in the demand for Filipino help and result in more illegal recruitment.

Like Fame, PASEI also opposed the no-placement fee policy that POEA would implement for the recruitment of domestics.

At present, recruiters collect from maids a month’s worth of salary as placement fees if the countries they were sent to are not covered by intermediaries or are special markets such as Taiwan, Singapore and Israel where the prevailing wage is already above $400 or close to it.

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