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BPO firms try to stay open after quarantine

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BUSINESS process outsourcing (BPO) companies are racing to comply with requirements to remain operational under minimal workforce arrangements amid the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon.

The country’s business process outsourcing group advised its member companies to continue operations under the conditions outlined by the government.

In a statement on Thursday, the Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) said it has circulated advisories released by the labor and transportation departments and the Interagency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease to member companies.

“These guidelines allow our sector to be more agile despite the restrictions imposed by the enhanced community quarantine — catering to the needs of our people, clients, and other stakeholders while taking preventive measures to protect them from COVID-19,” IBPAP Chief Executive Officer Rey C. Untal said.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Monday announced a month-long enhanced community quarantine on Luzon, enforcing strict home quarantine and suspending public transportation.

In addition to companies that provide basic necessities, business process outsourcing and export-oriented companies are allowed to remain operational under minimized workforce arrangements, and on the condition that the companies apply social distancing measures and provide temporary accommodation.




These arrangements need to be set up by March 20, according to a memorandum from the Office of the President released on Wednesday.

Concentrix Philippines, in an e-mailed response to questions, said on Thursday that the suspension of public transport has disrupted the mobility of majority of staff who rely on the services to reach work.

“We have various offices in Luzon that were all impacted,” it said.

The company said that a work-from-home model is “highly unusual” for the outsourcing industry, as its operations require complex tools and high-level data security.

“But we are working very fast with our staff and clients on enabling the work-at-home set up for those who are eligible,” it said.

Concentrix is working on giving the remaining on-site staff temporary accommodations, either in their offices or in nearby hotels.

The company is also releasing P1 billion in temporary support for the staff, including advanced provision of pro-rated 13th month pay, a zero-interest calamity loan for medical, house rental, utilities, and tuition fee expenses, and salary advances for Luzon staff who are unable to go to work.

Teleperformance Philippines in a statement on Wednesday said that the company is offering on-site accommodation, meals, and transport for as long as it is allowed.

The company is also releasing a portion of 13th month pay, offered enhanced premiums for on-site staff, and assured staff of access to health maintenance organization services.

Employees who are unable to report to work were advised to stay home.

Transcom Asia Philippines on Monday suspended its Metro Manila operations, and released pay in advance of two weeks to employees. The company said it will be “ready to resume work immediately within the given parameters.”

Accenture Philippines and Telus International Philippines declined to comment. — Jenina P. Ibañez









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