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Kindness more important, says Pinay who accepts reduced long service pay

30 August 2020

By Daisy CL Mandap

Joy decided not to file a claim against her employer for her entire long service pay

By her reckoning, she should be getting at least $66,000 in long service pay after working for her employer for the past 22 and a half years, says Joy C, a 49-year-old Ilongga who used to work as a teacher back home.

But after a heart-to-heart talk with her employer who became jobless in February, Joy settled for $50,000, saying the kindness she was shown by the family she had served for more than two decades was more important than the money she knew she should get.

Alam mo nayakap ako ni amo nang sinabi ko na, (You know what, my employer hugged me when I said) ‘Don’t worry, sir, that’s only money. Your kindness with me for 22 years, that’s priceless,” Joy said in a chat message last Friday, Aug 28.

Joy had consulted earlier, asking if she should accept her employer’s offer to halve her LSP because of his sacking. At 62 years old, the man was despairing about his prospects of being re-employed, and also about what the future held for him, his wife and two daughters who are in their 20s and are still living with them.

The Filipina, who is active in community events and is well aware of her rights, balked at first. She is not getting any younger, and knows that she should secure her own future because she may not be employable for long herself.

Besides, she says the onset of the pandemic made her realize the value of saving up for her own future. Although her only son is now well-employed as a seafarer and is able to send her an “allotment” from his earnings, Joy does not want to rely on him for support.

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As it was her employer who decided not to renew their contract when it expires on Sept 15, he should have paid Joy for long service, which should have been 2/3 of her current monthly pay of $4,410, times the number of years she has served.

Alam ko naman ang law kasi siya ang umayaw sa akin, yon nga lang todo pakiusap siya na half lang ang makaya nyang ibigay dahil 62 years old na at hirap na makahanap ng work. Mabait sila sa akin at very supportive na makahanap ako ng new employer,” Joy wrote.

(I know the law since he was the one who decided not to renew our contract, but he has been imploring that he could only afford to pay me half of my entitlement since he’s already 62 years old and has a hard time looking for another job. They’re very kind and has supported my quest to find a new employer).
Sayang din kasi yung half na di ko makukuha sa kanya, (but) at the same time, naawa rin ako sa kanya kaya very stressed ako.”

(It’s hard to let go of the other half of what I should be getting from him, but at the same time, I pity him, so I’m very stressed out).

But the next day, concern for her long-time employers overcame her misgivings.

Sige na lang po, sinabi ko na lang na dagdagan na lang niya kahit kaunti, ok na sa akin. Mabait naman sila sa akin for 22 years, it so happened nawalan lang siya ng work. May amo na rin ako, so thankful na lang ako sa blessings at sinabi na rin nila kung magkaproblema ako sa new employer ko tawag lang ako sa kanya..

(I decided to let it go, I just asked my employer to give me a bit more, I’ll be ok with it. They have been kind to me for 22 years, he just happened to have lost his job. I already have a new employer, so I’m still thankful for all the blessings. They also told me to call them in case I run into problems with my new employer).

Looking back, Joy says she has a lot to thank her employers for. She joined them when her first ever employment contract in Hong Kong was terminated after only eight months. She never left because the family gave her a lot of leeway, and never ordered her around. There were even times when she would eat ahead of them and never got a scolding.

Joy, who asked that her identity not be revealed.

Naisip ko din na kung binitawan nila ako, baka napunta ako sa salbaheng amo,” she says.
(I also realized that if they let me go earlier, I could have ended up with a bad employer).

But what really tipped the scales in favor of giving in to her employer’s request was the realization that it was because of his help that she was able to build a more secure future for her son, whom she had to provide for on her own.

Joy revealed that from her earnings, she has built a house for her parents and her son, and invest in a farm. She has also kept up payments with SSS and an insurance policy, and paid for the medical expenses of her father who was bedridden for three years.


But what she considers as her biggest reward for giving up her career as a teacher to work as a domestic helper abroad was being able to finance her son’s dream of taking up nautical engineering so he could work aboard a ship.

Nasa barko na ang anak ko (My son is already on board a ship)….I’m so grateful,” she says.

Her son, who was only a year old when she left, remains a source of joy to Joy for he has always toughed it out, even now that he is unable to disembark as scheduled from the cargo ship he is on because of the coronavirus contagion.

With her son already carving his own destiny, Joy hopes to complete at least one more contract before heading back home to enjoy the fruits of her labor.

She says the coronavirus contagion has made her realize she should have saved up more, but with the separation pay she’s getting from her long-time employer, Joy is more confident about facing the challenges that still lie ahead.

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