Let companies decide on their work setups–Concepcion
MANILA, Philippines — The private sector should be given the prerogative to decide on the work arrangements suitable for specific companies or industries, entrepreneurship advocate and former presidential adviser Joey Concepcion said on Thursday.
“My position here is: let the business owners decide. They would know best which jobs require on-site work and which do not,” said Concepcion, founder of the Go Negosyo movement and one of the first business leaders to help in the Philippine procurement of COVID-19 vaccines and in shaping lockdown policies during the Duterte administration.
He issued the statement following the recommendation from the jobs committee of the Private Sector Advisory Council to maintain a “70-30” work arrangement in the information technology business process outsourcing (IT-BPO) sector, or to have 70 percent of the staff reporting to the office and 30 percent doing work from home.
The council is composed of the chief executives of the country’s leading corporations and gives regular reports to President Marcos on private sector developments. Concepcion serves as the council’s lead person on matters relating to jobs and MSMEs (medium, small and micro enterprises).“For the different industries and sectors, we must let them decide what is best for them. There might actually be business owners who favor remote working and welcome the reduction in overhead costs,” Concepcion said.
The government policy on work-from-home arrangements recently figured in discussions over the clamor from IT-BPO companies for them to keep their tax incentives even with a third of their employees still working remotely.The matter was later resolved after the companies were allowed to transfer their registration from the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza) to the Department of Trade and Industry’s investment promotion arm, the Board of Investments.
In April this year, Peza-registered businesses were given a leeway on their work arrangements until Sept 12. The period was later extended to Dec. 31 for a smoother transition.
In Concepcion’s view, the country is entering a “phase of acceptance” of the realities of pandemic and that the public is learning to manage the daily risks involved.
“[I] believe it has started and that we will have to live with the risks of the virus still being around,” he added. “Doctors advise us on how we should handle Covid, but in the end it is us who make the choice.”
The government recently relaxed the mask mandate, making face protection optional outdoors, a policy shift supported by the country’s largest business organizations, such as the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Foreign Buyers Association of the Philippines, and the Employers Confederation of the Philippines. —Alden M. Monzon
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