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Mass layoffs worst in Q4 2020

/ 05:22 AM January 22, 2021
MANILA, Philippines — Mass layoffs worsened in the last quarter of 2020 and millions of workers continue to suffer from no pay or reduced pay a year since COVID-19 broke out, according to the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole).

Nearly half of the total 428,701 job losses reported to the Dole last year occurred from October to December, according to its 2020 job displacement report released and presented to its senior officials this week.

The report said a total 26,060 micro, small, medium and large businesses closed permanently or retrenched some of their workers. The report also showed that from start of the lockdown in March until December last year, at least 4,577,027 workers in 161,251 establishments were trapped in a “no work, no pay” situation due to the prolonged temporary business closure or reduced working hours.

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Labor Assistant Secretary Dominique Rubia-Tutay on Wednesday said many businesses apparently tried to keep operating through the pandemic last year only to give up in the last quarter.

“Based on the trend, in the last quarter of 2020 we recorded a higher number of companies resorting to either permanent closure or retrenchment,” Tutay said at a press briefing. “For 2021, we hope it will be a better year.”

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In its report, the Dole recorded the highest job losses in November—94,711 in 4,838 establishments.

The next highest was 67,609 jobs in 5,934 establishments in October, and 50,589 jobs in 2,602 establishments in June.

In December, 50,232 more workers lost their jobs in 2,942 establishments.

Nearly half, or 210,157 workers who were laid off, were in Metro Manila; 56,223 in Calabarzon; 42,485 in Central Visayas; and 40,368 in Central Luzon.

The Dole reported that 23,324 businesses retrenched part of their workforce while 2,736 others permanently closed last year.

Of those who were retrenched, 162,568 worked in large companies, 68,301 in small businesses, 26,257 in medium and 13,567 in microenterprises.

Of those who lost their jobs due to the permanent closures, 11,528 were in small, 4,705 in micro and 4,221 in medium enterprises.

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The report said 100,290 establishments that remain temporarily closed had at least 2,398,654 workers.

The Dole said microenterprises accounted for 58 percent of the temporarily shuttered businesses.

At least 2,308,027 other workers in 62,857 establishments received smaller salaries due to the reduction of workdays and other flexible work arrangements. About half, or 46 percent of these establishments, were small enterprises.

By definition, a microenterprise employs 1 to 99 employees; a small enterprise has 10 to 99 employees; a medium enterprise has 100 to 199 employees, while a large enterprise has at least 200 workers.

The Dole would stop its emergency cash assistance to pandemic-displaced workers this year.

Tutay said the Dole had disbursed about 85 percent of the P16.4 billion in financial assistance for workers under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act.

The implementation of the law was extended to June this year.

Last year, the Dole provided a P5,000 cash assistance to displaced workers in the formal sector, with a special allocation for those in tourism and education; a cash-for-work program for informal sector workers; and $200, or P10,000, cash aid for displaced overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

Tutay said the COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP) for displaced workers in the formal sector and the Abot Kamay ang Pagtulong (Akap) program for displaced OFWs were no longer funded in 2021.

She said the Dole will continue its regular assistance and emergency employment projects under the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (Tupad) program.

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TAGS: coronavirus pandemic, COVID-19, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), mass layoffs, microenterprises, Unemployment
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