The Business Processing Association of the Philippines, the umbrella organization for the IT-BPO industry, said on Wednesday that it will review its response to calamities to strengthen its efforts to safeguard the well-being of its employees.
“We’ll continue to work closely with the government to ensure employee safety, enhance disaster preparedness, and mitigate service disruption,” BPAP president and chief executive Benedict Hernandez said.
A large part of Luzon was inundated during last week’s surge of monsoon rains. Metro Manila, which hosts hundreds of the country’s information technology and business process outsourcing companies, was not spared.
When Malacañang suspended work in public and private offices on Aug. 7, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said that employers in the private sector who requested or allowed employees to work must be able to ensure and be responsible for their employees’ safety and to grant premium pay.
In an initial survey conducted by BPAP late last week, other IT-BPO companies had reportedly granted monetary relief for affected employees consisting of interest-free loans, 13th-month pay advances, and outright grants.
IT-BPOs also implemented business continuity plans, several of which included provision of safe, shuttle transportation to employees.
BPAP said in many instances, employees used these systems to request assistance from their employers. Companies alerted private-sector and government rescue organizations when employees required urgent assistance.
Employees who worked on Aug. 7 received a 30-percent premium on basic pay in compliance with a directive from the Department of Labor and Employment.
BPAP particularly cited Sitel Philippines Corp.’s memo to its employees issued Aug. 7, which stated, “You are very much welcome to stay in our sites until it is safe for you to go home, and we have also made arrangements for accommodation for those who cannot go home yet. Food shall also be provided, and you will continue to have the assistance of your support teams.”
Others, like Maersk Global Services Centers, provided an emergency assistance program, including emergency loans and an advanced payroll run on Aug. 11 already.