A panel in the House of Representatives has approved House Bill 9160 which mandates golf clubs to provide social security and welfare benefits to gold caddies and other related service workers through a shared contribution scheme.
The House Committee on Labor and Employment, chaired by Rep. Luisa Lloren Cuaresma of Nueva Vizcaya, said the bill requires the management of every golf club shall accredit gold caddies and other related service workers who are rendering service to players of the golf club. The bill is principally authored by Rep. Mark Go of Baguio City.
Under the measure, golf caddies and other related service workers of a golf club shall be covered by the Social Security System, the Home Development Mutual Fund or the Pag-IBIG Fund, and the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. upon their accreditation by the golf club management.
Payment of SSS, Pag-IBIG Fund and PhilHealth monthly contributions shall be jointly shared by the golf caddies and other related service workers, and the golf club management based on existing rules and regulations.
The bill also provides that golf caddies and other related service workers shall be entitled to retirement benefits as provided under Republic Act No. 8282, otherwise known as the “Social Security Law” and other existing laws.
It also requires the management of golf clubs to devise and institute a mechanism for the collection of the SSS, Pag-IBIG Fund, and PhilHealth monthly contributions from caddies and other related service workers.
Go defines a golf caddie as one who assists a golfer by carrying his bag, clubs and other equipment, and in most cases, gives insightful advice and moral support to a golf player.
“He is usually aware of the challenges and obstacles within a particular golf course and also knowledgeable with the best strategy in playing golf which includes determination of overall yardage, appropriate pin placements, and club selection,” said Go.
He said that there are about 93 golf courses in the country with concentration in the Luzon area. Working in these golf areas are more than a hundred caddies, excluding other service workers.
These caddies undergo a certain training usually provided by the club management and are subject to the club’s rules and regulations on caddie service.
“As we are aware of, a caddie is not usually an employee of a private club or resort. Caddies are classified as ‘independent contractor’, meaning that they are basically self-employed and do not receive any benefits or perks from their association with the golf clubs. In some clubs and resorts, caddie programs are being implemented. However, benefits are rarely offered. Considering the nature of their work, these independent workers are vulnerable to some health hazards,” Go said.