‘Investigate BPO companies work policies during calamities’ – youth solon

A LAWMAKER urged congress to investigate Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) companies that required its employees to work last week despite the torrential monsoon rains.

“BPO workers are not waterproof. Such unfair labor practice endangers and violates the rights of vulnerable employees of this sector,” Kabataan Partylist Rep. Raymond Palatino said.

Palatino filed House Resolution No. 2677, which directs the Congressional Committee on Labor and Employment to investigate BPO companies that required employees to report for work even during calamities for possible violations of Philippine labor laws.

Starting August 6, the rain poured nonstop in most parts of Luzon, flooding various cities and major thoroughfares. On August 7, President Benigno Aquino III released Memorandum Circular 33-A suspending work in all offices in the private sector in Metro Manila and nine other provinces in Luzon.

Despite the alarming weather conditions and Aquino’s memorandum, some BPO companies reportedly sent messages to their employees and required them to report to work, allegedly on the basis that BPO companies are not required to follow directives from the government.

In a statement, Business Process Association of the Philippines (BPAP) President Benedict Hernandez said that while employees can skip work due to the inclement weather, there are critical services that need to be in operation even during disasters.

“Being the fastest growing component of the services sector employing thousands of Filipinos, we need to investigate the work policies of BPO companies, especially during calamities, and see if these policies go against the human and labor rights of their employees,” Palatino said.

While the Aquino administration said that all BPO companies are covered by the memorandum released on August 7, there were still various reports that reveal that some companies still forced their employees to go to work, some even without additional pay.

“Only through proper investigation could we determine if violations were indeed committed,” Palatino said.

“BPO companies are not exempt from labor laws of the state. However, legislators need to ensure that there are ample safeguards in our labor laws that would ensure the safety of those working in the BPO sector,” Palatino said.

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