MANILA, Dec 25 (Mabuhay) — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has released guidelines to protect informal workers, including household helpers, from gender-based sexual harassment.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III issued Department Order 230 providing methods and interventions, including redress mechanisms, in cases of gender-based sexual harassment in the workplace, for kasambahay (household helpers), workers in the informal economy, and those employed in establishments with 10 or fewer employees.

The labor department refers to the informal economy as all economic activities by workers and economic units that are in law or practice not covered or insufficiently covered by formal arrangements.

The order defines gender-based sexual harassment (GBSH) as specific acts penalized by Republic Act 11313 (Safe Spaces Act), which may be committed either in the streets, public spaces, online, workplace, and educational and training institutions.

Under the law, GBSH includes uninvited sexual actions or remarks against any individuals regardless of the motive for committing such action or remarks.

The department mandates employers to orient their workers in establishments and households regarding the Safe Spaces Act.

It also said the work contracts of household helpers must state that they are guaranteed protection from sexual harassment.

“Employers or other persons of authority, influence, or moral ascendancy in the establishment are also mandated to prevent, deter, or punish the commission of acts of GBSH in the workplace,” the agency said.

“Establishments are also required as part of their occupational safety and health program to formulate their GBSH code of conduct or workplace policy.”

The labor department shall conduct yearly spontaneous, random, and unannounced inspections under the existing rules and regulations to ensure the compliance of employers.

“We enjoin everyone to report to DOLE non-compliance or violations of employers to these rules,” Bello said.

Complaints can be submitted to the DOLE attached agencies and regional, provincial, field, or satellite offices that are nearest to the employees’ workplace, residence, or place where the alleged violation was committed. (MNS)

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