Gov’t urged: Rethink ‘cruel’ stand on BPO work-from-home deadline
MANILA, Philippines — Rejecting the plea of business process outsourcing (BPO) companies to extend the work-from-home arrangements for their employees is “too inconsiderate and cruel,” senatorial candidate and former Makati Rep. Monsour Del Rosario said.
Del Rosario, the author of the Telecommuting Act of 2018 in Congress, said this as he called on the Fiscal Incentives Review Board (FIRB) to reconsider its stand not to grant the call of BPO firms to extend its remote work arrangements.
“I think it’s too inconsiderate and cruel,” he said, calling out FIRB’s warning to remove the tax-exempt incentives being enjoyed by BPOs if they do not comply.
In a resolution issued by FIRB in September last year, it allowed work-from-home setups for up to 90 percent of BPO firms’ workers until March 31, 2022, amid the persisting impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But the FIRB, during its Feb. 21 meeting, denied the request of BPO firms to extend work-from-home arrangements beyond the end of March.
Del Rosario, however, stressed that the rights of workers to perform their duties remotely must be upheld and supported, especially amid the pandemic.
“I understand that the intention of the FIRB is to help revive our economy by having more people go out to support other businesses. But forcing BPO workers to go out while we are still in the middle of a pandemic is quite unreasonable,” he said.
“First and foremost, as leaders, we should always put the welfare of our people as our top priority. Who’s going to suffer from this sudden imposition of a return-to-office deadline but the humble BPO workers who helped keep our economy afloat over the past two years? All the BPOs are asking for is a few months’ extension. Why is that so hard to give?” he added.
Further, Del Rosario warned that “forcing” the entire BPO industry to return to their offices immediately could have “more negative effects rather than good.”
“One of the reasons why I pushed for the Telecommuting Act while I was in Congress is to help ease the traffic situation in the cities. Imagine if we bring everyone out again while our public transport system is currently being crippled by the rising fuel prices, then wouldn’t our BPO workers suffer more physically, mentally, and even financially?” the senatorial candidate said.
He added that tax impositions on BPO companies should they fail to comply with the deadline are “outright violations” of the Telecommuting Act as this could lead BPO firms to impose sanctions on their employees who will refuse to return to their offices even for valid reasons.
“The government should look into this matter more before it gets complicated. We shouldn’t allow any entity or government body to step on the rights of our people at any cost,” he added.
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