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The Department of Labor (DOLE) has issued guidelines for enforcing safe areas’ for migrant workers.

Under Republic Act (RA) 11313, or the Safe Spaces Act, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) announced recommendations on Thursday aimed at protecting informal sector employees, such as kasambahays (house helpers).

Department Order 230 series of 2021, issued by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, provides mechanisms and interventions, including redress mechanisms, in cases of gender-based sexual harassment in the workplace for those in the informal economy and those employed in establishments with ten or fewer employees.

Gender-Based Sexual Harassment (GBSH) is defined in the order as particular acts that are punishable under RA 11313 and can occur anywhere: on the street, in public spaces, online, at work, and in educational and training institutions.

The GBSH refers to unwanted and unsolicited sexual actions or words against any individual, regardless of the motivation for such actions or utterances, as defined by the law.

At the same time, the Department of Labor requires employers of informal sector workers to provide Safe Spaces Act training to all workers in their businesses and houses to guarantee full compliance with the legislation.

Employers and other persons in positions of authority, influence, or moral supremacy in the workplace are also required to prevent, deter, or punish GBSH in the workplace.

Establishments must develop their GBSH code of conduct or workplace policy as part of their occupational safety and health program.

All economic activity by workers and economic units that are not covered or poorly covered by formal arrangements are referred to the as informal economy.

The DOLE will conduct yearly spontaneous, random, and unannounced inspections under current rules and regulations to guarantee employers’ compliance with the law and Department Order 230, according to Bello.

“We urge everyone to report any noncompliance or infractions of these standards by employers to the Department of Labor,” Bello stated.

Attached agencies and regional, provincial, field, or satellite offices of the department closest to the employees’ workplace, residence, or location where the alleged infringement occurred can file complaints.

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