House bill on safety, protection of BPO workers filed
MANILA, Philippines — Deputy Speaker and Las Pinas Rep. Camille Villar called for the passage of a bill ensuring the safety of business process outsourcing (BPO) workers from unfair labor practices and potential abuses as the House session resumed on Monday.
In a statement, Villar said that the government should protect BPO workers, considering that the industry is one of the major drivers of the local economy
Villar filed House Bill (HB) No. 9342 last September 27, which lays out guidelines for labor policies that are fair to workers and measures to shield employees from discrimination.
“With the importance of the BPO industry in the Philippine economy, it is but fitting to establish standards to ensure the safety, well-being and rights of employees working in the BPO sector,” Villar explained.
“BPO workers, who are often working night shift hours and sacrificing their health and time for their families, need protections like occupational health and safety, work-life balance, fair compensation, anti-discrimination, medical and health benefits, transportation perks, and right to self-organization,” she added.
If HB No. 9342 is enacted, employers would be mandated to treat workers humanely, as Section 6 states that “employers and supervisors must, at all times, treat the BPO worker in a just and humane manner and ensure that all the rights and benefits of BPO workers are provided and accorded to them as mandated by the Labor Code.”
Section 8 also states that workers should be protected from understaffing or overloading by ensuring that the ratio of BPO workers to client quota or quantitative targets is reasonable.
Section 9, meanwhile, would require companies to regularize workers after the sixth month of completion of training or the maximum probationary training.
Other sections of the bill tackle the following workplace issues:
- excessive company bond
- discrimination based on ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, race, color, religion, politics, disability, status, pregnancy, physical characteristics or disability
- working hours and overtime work
- night shift differential
- leave and transportation benefits
- health insurance
- occupational safety
- security of tenure
“It is imperative to treat the BPO worker in a just and humane manner and ensure that all the rights and benefits of BPO workers are provided for and accorded to them as mandated by the Labor Code. Abusive language, physical violence, or any act which debases the dignity of a person shall not be used against the employee,” she said.
As of 2022, the BPO industry in the Philippines is believed to be contributing around $30 billion per year, with the IT-BPM Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) believing that the sector would be responsible for 8.5 percent of the country’s gross domestic product by 2028.