Marcos wants probe on BPOs that ‘exploit’ Filipino workers amid pandemic
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Imee Marcos is pushing for a Senate investigation into the alleged exploitation of Filipino employees by business process outsourcing (BPO) companies amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Marcos sought for the inquiry through Senate Resolution No. 454, which directs the appropriate committee to conduct a probe, in aid of legislation, on call center companies allegedly “exploiting” Filipino workers in the wake of the health crisis.
According to Marcos, “a great number of call center employees complain that some companies are withholding compensation, especially of Filipino employees, or making them shoulder operational costs so that further losses in corporate income can be reduced.”
This, despite previous advisories from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) which allowed companies to modify work arrangements and adjust wages and wage-related benefits for up to six months as remedial measures while community quarantines are in place.
Marcos said that Labor Advisory No. 17 provides that: “[e]mployees on work-from-home or telecommuting arrangement shall be provided with adequate support to perform the assigned task or job.”
“[T]he complaints include non-payment of salaries in the past 60 to 90 days, denial of separation benefits for those laid off, unreimbursed costs for electricity and Wi-Fi access of night-shift employees working from home, extended home-based work shifts with no extra pay if system tools break down, and forced leave on maternity credits without assurance of being rehired,” her resolution further read.
Macros added that her office received “pleas for help” from call center agents, including persons with disabilities, who have allegedly “lost up to 120 workdays of income due to forced leaves under a no-work, no-pay arrangement and with no assurance of keeping their jobs.”
“The rights and livelihood of workers as mandated by the Constitution must be safeguarded especially in this time of crisis,” she said.
Marcos had earlier urged the DOLE to look into alleged abuses in call centers arising from flexible work arrangements amid the pandemic.
Marcos also called on the labor department to closely monitor corporate compliance “since labor abuse during the pandemic may be more widespread than just within the BPO industry.”
“BPO’s must take care of their employees in anticipation of a bounce-back in business post-COVID, as companies in other sectors will turn to outsource services to cut costs,” she said.
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