THE NATIONAL Wages and Productivity Board announced a P1,000 monthly increase in the minimum wage for housekeepers in the Mimaropa region, which is made up of the provinces of Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan.

The minimum wage was set at P3,500 a month from P2,500, according to an order issued by the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board.

The new rate applies to all maidservants whether they are staying in or out of their employers’ houses, according to the order.

The order also does not prevent househelps from bargaining for higher wages with their employers, it said.

The law for housekeepers, which took effect in 2013, had set a minimum wage of P2,000 in chartered cities and first-class municipalities and P1,500 in other municipalities. Before that, they were at the mercy of employers as far as their wages were concerned.

Housekeepers must be paid their wages without illegal deductions at least once a month, according to the wage order.

Employers must also provide basic needs such as three full meals daily and a decent sleeping area.

Employers who fail to heed the order face a penalty of P10,000 to P40,000, it said.

The order will take effect 15 days after being published in a newspaper of general circulation. — Gillian M. Cortez