A Filipina maid, and perhaps, all maids for that matter, is entitled to rest periods as per the Batas Kasambahay (RA 10361 or the Act Instituting Policies for the Protection and Welfare of Domestic Workers). Any pragmatic employer would wonder which of the days is the most proper day off for the maids and for how many days per week. Nonetheless, schedule weekly rest days is one of the major concerns of homeowners especially those who have a limited number of house staffers.

To satisfy every eager employer's curiosity, we will try our best to answer the questions. Nonetheless, the answers are based on the provisions of the Act. 

What the Batas Kasambahay says

Under Rule IV, the rule outlining the rights and privileges of a kasambahay, a maid is entitled to mandatory benefits including daily and weekly rest periods. The aggregate daily rest period is 8 hours and weekly rest period of 24 consecutive hours. Section 6 of the said rule also states, “the employer and the kasambahay shall agree in writing on the schedule of the weekly rest day but the preference of the kasambahay, when based on religious grounds, shall be respected.”

According to the same section, the employer cannot offset a day of absence with the rest day and waive it in exchange for an equivalent of daily pay. These are considered as the deprivation of the rights of the maid. Also, the employer cannot let the maid work for two to five weeks consecutively without days off and spend the accumulated days off at once once it reached five rest days or more. Other similar arrangements are not allowed as well.

What you must do

Based on the Act, there are no universal rules applicable to scheduling rest days. However, the law encourages the employer and the house help to talk about their needs openly and decide accordingly. First, you should be aware of your own [household's] requirements and schedules. Can you cope with a maid's absence if she will not be there on a weekday, Saturday or Sunday? Would you want a fixed or flexible rest day?

Second, you must be aware of your house helper's needs and preferences. Does she have a place to stay in for the night near the city? Does she need to go to the province every rest day? The goal is to tailor fit the schedule to her current situation. So you, as the employer, may decide what is fair and proper for you and for her. Think of it as a way to further dignify her role in your household.

Third, after agreeing on the rest day, both of you should agree on the terms. For instance, the time of day she will leave the house and the time she is expected to return. Discuss what will happen if she doesn't return on time so she won't deliberately spend too much time away for too long. The terms must be clear to both of you. Much better if you can put everything into writing so the two of you are guided. Each of you must have the copy of the document.

In sum, the proper way to schedule your staffers' rest day is to talk your way through it. In this way, the process will be reflective and participative as both of you share your requirements, needs and preferences. There will be inputs from both sides and each will learn the concerns of one another. While the decision should be based on the Act, that's how you maintain harmony and balance within your household.