BENEFITS FOR OVERSEAS FILIPINO WORKERS (OFWS)
Given their temporary nature of employment. OFWs are often excluded from coverage of social security program of the host country. OFWs are also perceived as a vulnerable and disadvantage group and therefore must be given by the State full protection of which provision of a social security is fundamental. The coverage under OWWA membership and Philhealth is a manifestation of the State’s commitment of providing social and welfare protection for its overseas workers and will afford our OFWs a multi-layer of protection for their own advantage. The mandatory membership in the overseas workers welfare fund of OWWA enables workers to avail the wide array of benefits and services for documented OFWs and their families.
POEA Travel Exit Clearance
A POEA travel exit clearance is a clearance issued by POEA to OFWs who exit from the Philippines for employment purpose, regardless of their visa status. The travel clearance comes in the following forms:
- Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) –issued during manual processing
- E-receipt – issued for computerized processing
- Multiple Travel Exit Clearance (MTEC) – a single issuance of travel exit clearance good for at least 3 exits within the validity period of the existing contract with the same employer, with a duration of not less than 12 months from the date of application of travel clearance. MTEC shall strictly be used for travel to the worker’s jobsite.
Uses of POEA travel exit clearance:
- It serves as travel exit pass for OFWs at the airports.
- It serves as an exemption certificate from payment of Travel Tax and airport terminal fee
- It serves as a worker’s guarantee that he/she is covered by government protection and benefits
OFWs need to register at POEA and secure a POEA travel exit clearance before leaving the Philippines.
Documents needed at the airport before departure from the Philippines:
- Valid passport
- POEA travel exit clearance (OEC/e-receipt/MTEC) presented to airline check-in counter, airport terminal fee counter to avail yourself of the exemption from payment of terminal fee, and the Bureau of Immigration counter.
The following are not qualified to apply for POEA travel exit clearance:
- Filipino permanent residents of a foreign country. They can avail themselves of travel tax exemption for balikbayan at the Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA).
- Dependents of OFWs. They can avail themselves of Reduced Travel Tax only if they are proceeding to the OFW’s jobsite. Dependent children are qualified until their 21stbirthday. They need to present 1) certified copy of the OEC/e-receipt from POEA Records Division or office which issued the travel exit clearance of the OFW; 2) passport of dependents; 3) original marriage contract (for legitimate spouse); 4) original birth certificate (for legitimate children); and 5) plane ticket. Requirements should be filed at the PTA Office for the issuance of a Reduced Travel Tax Certificate (RTTC).
Offices where BM e-receipts / OECs can be secured:
- Balik Manggagawa Processing Division (BMPD) – POEA Main Office
- POEA Regional Centers - La Union, Cebu, Davao
- POEA Regional Extension Units / Satellite Offices – Baguio, Tuguegarao, Pampanga, Calamba, Legaspi, Cebu, Bacolod, Tacloban, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Zamboanga, Tawi-tawi
- Labor Assistance Centers (LAC) – at international airports in Manila, Cebu and Mindanao. (OEC issuance at LACs is limited to those classified as Balik Manggagawa – vacationing workers, rehires, POLO-registered workers – with confirmed airline bookings on the date of request of BM OEC issuance. Irregular/Undocumented workers cannot be issued BM OEC at the LACs.
- Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLO)
Balik Manggagawa (BM) or Landbased Name Hired Workers
1. Balik Manggagawa (BM)
Balik Manggagawa (BM) refers to an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) who is on vacation, is returning to the same employer, and with an employment contract previously processed with the POEA, or registered with the Philippine Labor Office (POLO) at the jobsite.
If you left the Philippines with a Chinese working visa, were able to process your POEA registration, and had secured an Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC)/e-receipt, then you fall under the Balik Manggagawa program.
There are three categories under the Balik Manggagawa program:
- Worker-on-Leave – a worker under an existing employment contract who is returning to the same employer to finish the remaining portion of the contract, regardless of any change in jobsite.
- Rehire – a worker rehired by the same employer after finishing his/her contract, and is returning to the same employer within six (6) months from arrival in the Philippines, regardless of a change in jobsite.
- POLO registered worker – a worker whose contract was not processed with POEA but was subsequently verified and registered with the POLO at the jobsite.
If you fall under the above three categories, you do not need to have your existing employment contract acknowledged by the Embassy/Consulate. You just have to present a proof of existing employment (such as valid and existing employment contract, employment certificate, valid company ID, pay slips) and that you are returning to the same employer, to POEA Balik Manggagawa Processing Division (BMPD) for the issuance of your POEA travel exit clearance (OEC/e-receipt). Please allot at least one day of your vacation to the Philippines to process your POEA travel exit clearance.
If you do not fall under the abovementioned categories of Balik Manggagawa (BM), then you are considered “Landbased Name Hired Workers.”
2. Land-based Name Hired Workers
Land-based Name Hired Workers refer to OFWs who changed employers and those who left as tourists whose employment contracts were not processed with the POEA or verified and registered at POLO on-site. These workers are classified asIrregular/Undocumented Filipino migrant workers.
Name hired workers must bring their employment contract to the Embassy/Consulate for acknowledgment before their intended departure from China. The OFW or the employer should appear before the Embassy/Consulate to have the employment contract acknowledged.
Following are the requirements for acknowledgment of employment contracts:
- Standard employment contract as prescribed by POEA which can be downloaded from the POEA website (www.poea.gov.ph/docs/sec_various_new.pdf). It should contain the complete details of the jobsite and/or the employer (i.e., company name, address, tel/fax/email). For household service workers (HSWs), the minimum salary should be USD 400.00.
- Copy of the company’s registration
- Copy of the employer’s passport and/or Chinese national ID
- Copy of the OFW’s passport and visa
- RMB 167.50 notarial fee
Processing takes one to two working days. Hiring of foreign HSWs by non-diplomats is illegal in China. Contract of HSWs whose employers are NOT diplomats will not be acknowledged by the Philippine Embassy.
The acknowledged employment contract should be brought to the POEA Landbased Center, Name Hire Assistance Division, to secure a POEA travel exit clearance (OEC/e-receipt). Please note that the POEA Evaluators may demand other proofs of existing employment (such as employment certification, valid company ID, pay slips). Please have these documents ready before your intended departure from China. Please allot at least one day of your vacation to the Philippines to process your POEA travel exit clearance.
Part V, Rule I, Section 3 of the POEA Rules and Regulations allow Parties to overseas employment contract to stipulate other terms and conditions and other benefits not provided under the minimum requirements provided the whole employment package should be more beneficial to the worker than the minimum; provided that the same shall not be contrary to law, public policy and morals; and provided further, that Philippine agencies shall make foreign employers aware of the standards of employment adopted by the Administration.
The minimum core provisions of the employment contract are the following:
- Guaranteed wage for regular work hours and overtime pay, as appropriate which shall not be lower than the prescribed minimum wage in the host country; not lower than the appropriate minimum wage standard set forth in a bilateral agreement or international convention duly ratified by the host country and the Philippines or not lower than the minimum wage in the Philippines, whichever is highest;
- Free transportation to and from the worksite, or offsetting benefit;
- Free food and accommodation, or offsetting benefit;
- Just authorized causes for termination of the contract or of the services of the workers taking into consideration the customs, traditions, norms, mores, practices, company policies and the labor laws and social legislations of the host country.
Any side employment contract or agreement (other than the approved POEA Employment Contract) entered into between the employer and the worker including a stipulation that the worker had agreed to receive a salary lower than what is mandated under the Philippine laws, is considered null and void and will constitute a violation of the POEA rules and regulations. The worker must be advised to file a complaint against the employer.
For its duly registered members, OWWA delivers a wide range of health care, disability and death benefits, scholarships and financial assistance for education and training, workers assistance and on-site services, and social services and family welfare assistance subject to the qualification requirements and availability of OWWA funds.
An OWWA member and/or his family is entitled to the following benefits and services:
I. Medical / Health Care, Disability and Death Benefits
- Disability and Dismemberment Benefit
- Total Disability Benefit
- Death Benefit
- Burial Benefit
II. Education and Training Benefits
a. Pre-Departure Education Program (PDEP)
1. Comprehensive Pre-Departure Education Program (CPDEP)
b. Country-specific Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS)
2. Skills-for-Employment Scholarship Program (SESP)
3. Education for Development Scholarship Program (EDSP)
4. OFW Dependents Scholarship Program (PFW DSP
5. Seafarers’ Comprehensive Education and Training Programs
c. Seafarers’ Upgrading Program
6. Mariners’ Dugtong-Aral
7. Incentive Program for Top 200 Maritime Cadets (Cadetship
8. Maritime Educational Development Loan Program (MEDLOP)
d. OWWA-Microsoft Tulay
e. Tuloy-Aral Project