SIX PROPOSED MEASURES seeking to upgrade working conditions in the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry are being considered by the House Committee on Labor and Employment.
The Committee prior to the session break held its first deliberation on House Bills (HB) 156, 661, 662, 2233, 4629, and 5728, which provide workers a clear path to regular status and protect them from overwork.
Under HBs 156, 661 and 5728, company bonds, or the imposition of a certain fee on an employee who leaves the firm before a specified term, will become illegal.
Most bills also allow BPO workers to join groups to collectively bargain and discuss workplace issues. This provision is present in House Bills 156, 661, 662, 4629, and 5728.
The Department of Labor and Employment will also be required to establish occupational health and safety standards for the BPO industry.
The Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research, Inc. (EILER) said it backs the bills’ main points but added that they need to be improved by protecting workers from so-called “floating status.”
“For floating status and/or downsizing, BPO companies should automatically implement lateral transfers to other accounts with non-diminution of wages, benefits, allowances seniority rights,” EILER said in its position paper sent to the House Committee on Labor and Employment.
EILER said being put on floating status or being redeployed represent systematic attacks on security of tenure.
Such policies automatically put employees on floating status or redeployment program for six months without pay when a client pulls out or when a firm downsizes. There is also no assurance of an employee being rehired.
EILER also flagged the practice of BPOs imposing “unattainable metrics” to stay competitive, which have become the basis for termination of employees.
“Metrics should not be used as grounds for termination. Companies should provide systems for coaching and training,” the organization said.
EILER added that BPOs should comply with the rule requiring 30 days’ notice prior to termination. — Charmaine A. Tadalan