How important is an employment contract for an OFW?
An employment contract is a very important document which every OFW should look closely into. Stated in the contract are terms and conditions of the employer and the OFW and any other agreement which are considered binding and lawful. It also protects the rights of an overseas worker while working abroad.
An employment contract is executed between an employer and an employee whose conditions are fair, just and agreeable by both parties and most importantly, has been approved by the POEA (Philippine Overseas Employment Administration).
It is also important that an OFW understands what is written on the contract before signing it and make sure that rights are protected to prevent any form of abuse within the workplace while working overseas.
Here are the following minimum provisions that an OFW should consider:
- Statement of place of work
The place (country) where an OFW will work should be specifically stated.
- Contract Duration
The exact date of start of work and when it will end.
- Position Title
- Monthly Salary Rate
The rate should not be below the minimum amount as set by the law.
- Regular Work Schedule
The number of working hours per day, the number of working days in a week and allowed number of day-offs
- Overtime Pay
Payment for working in excess of the regular work schedule
- Grounds for Termination of Contract or Just cause for termination
The benefits may vary depending on the employer. However, it would be best that the benefits be stipulated in the contract such as, privilege of taking leaves, free food, free accommodation, medical assistance including getting injuries while at work, and dental assistance.
In case of death of an OFW, the employer should be willing to shoulder the expenses of having the remains and the personal belongings of the OFW be repatriated to the Philippines.
OFWs should keep a copy of the employment contract and as much as possible, a copy should also be left to the relatives in the Philippines for protection and for reference.
This serves as a gentle reminder to all OFWs to make sure that the agreement is clear and understood prior to affixing their signatures on it.
Should there be irregularities or complaints regarding the contract, an OFW may contact the Philippine Embassy or nearest POLO where they are working.