FILIPINA CAREGIVER WINS SETTLEMENT AGAINST AGENCY

By Steve Angeles, ABS CBN North America Bureau

May 17, 2013

Los Angeles – The Filipino Migrant Center has announced that Elydia Sarmiento, 75, has won a significant amount of wages owed to her by an employment agency in Southern California.

Sarmiento filed a wage claim with the Division of Labor Standards and Enforcement office in Van Nuys against the agency for minimum wage violations. In California, Sarmiento’s occupation as a caregiver qualifies her to receive $8 per hour; however, Sarmiento, who worked for a minimum of 17 hours a day, 7 days a week for 4 years was only paid $100/day.

“I rarely had time to sleep because my patient has breathing problems and I have to watch her closely so I would have to wake up many times in the middle of the night.” Sarmiento expressed.

It is not uncommon for caregivers who work in private homes, especially those who are live-in, to be paid a fixed amount per day. $100/day is the usual rate paid to them by employment agencies, sometimes even lower.

Sarmiento has worked as a caregiver since 1994, first working for a filmmaker in Hollywood for 3 years where she was not allowed to cook her own food in the kitchen, to taking care of elderly people in retirement homes and private homes.

“I was only allowed to use the microwave but I did not know how to use it at first. I also had to teach myself different things so I can do better at my job to make the person I am caring for happy and comfortable.” Sarmiento describes.

You can reach Steve Angeles at steve_angeles@abs-cbn.com

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