Friday, January 10, 2014

Practical Guides for Migrant Domestic Workers

(Note - PMRW will be publishing these practical guides as part of a primer for Domestic Workers so it is not yet widely distributed (an embargo for now), only after publication will this information be shared widely. Also, it would be nice to have an infographics for it, volunteers are most welcome).


  • Before leaving abroad make sure you have all the necessary documents with you.
  • Insist with your agency to ensure that all the documents are in order before leaving.
  • Keep a photocopy of the documents with you.
  •  Give also your family a photocopy of the documents.

In particular:
  • the name of your agency (complete address and contact details);
  • work contract;
  • complete details and contact information of your employer;
  • your OWWA certificate and other necessary information that your family should also be acquainted

Contact information to have with you

  • contact details of the Philippine Embassy or Consulate where you will be working;
  • organizations or NGOs working with migrants;
  • religious organizations (church, mosque…)

Cultural information

It is necessary to know and understand the destination country’s cultural practices and customs. Although each family is unique, it will be important to know some basic things about the household.
·         religious belief and practices;
  • home set-up;
  • food, how to prepare it, how to serve it;
  • family composition and hierarchy;
  • attitudes toward children;
  • needs of elderly;
  • do’s and don’t’s of the culture.

Prepare yourself

  •  talk with other migrants who have been in the same country;
  • visit the websites related to the country;
  •  watch some videos on the cultural practices of the country;
  •  take advantage of the PDOS to acquire all the information that will be useful to you once abroad;
  •  learn the basic elements of the language of the country where you will go.

Take care of yourself
  • If your religious practice is different from the household you are serving be sensitive and considerate also of their beliefs.
  •  Be sure to have ready medicines to take if you are feeling ill.
  •  Be wary of the climate and weather conditions which might affect your health.
  •  Know your surroundings. Know the location of the place where you work, the distance of your place from the Embassy, the nearest friend or acquaintance or other public places. Have a map of the area.

Specific tips

A) When confronted with exploitation, maltreatment, punishment and sexual harassments:

1) If at the slightest mistake your employer physically hurts and punishes you, do not take another chance but have it immediately reported to your agency.

2) If your agency does not act on it, call and have your case reported to the embassy or the POLO (Philippine Overseas Labor Office).

3) Sexual harassment and sexual abuse are serious offenses; at the first instance of such incidents have it reported to your agency and the Embassy and request for rescue.

4) When you are experiencing exploitation, no rest, inhumane working condition (extended time of work on a daily basis without proper compensation), working beyond the time established in the contract (instead of working for a single family you are assigned to work for other families, double job, etc) have this issue worked out with your agency and the embassy/POLO.

B) Work Related Injuries
  • your employer is responsible for your medical expenses and should respect your healing process and recovery. If they disclaim such responsibility then have it reported to your agency or the POLO.

C) Non-payment and withholding of salary

  •  domestic workers are entitled to receive their salary on a monthly basis. Report to your agency if your employer is not fulfilling such obligation. If you are not satisfied with the response of your agency, have it elevated to the embassy or the POLO.

D) Running away
  • should be the last resort for any domestic worker if the working conditions turn to worst despite all the report and effort to address the situation. Be sure to have the plan work out well. Do not attempt running away by jumping out from windows of high floors that may further complicate the problem causing severe injuries if not death.
  • get assistance from others who could be trusted and would be of help. The social media or facebook has been an important communication medium for domestic workers to get assistance from Filipino community (FilCom) or individuals that facilitates reaching out to officials of the POLO, Embassy and other Philippine based NGOs.

Online Resources or Videos for Domestic Workers:

1) Lebanon

No comments:

Post a Comment