Quezon City, August 20, 2010—Kabataan Rep. Raymond V. Palatino had re-filed House Bill (HB) No. 2962 or the BPO Workers Welfare & Protection Act of 2010, which is aimed to push for the better working conditions and protect the business process outsourcing workers, commonly known as call center agents.
“Though bigger BPO companies offer relatively competitive compensation packages, among other benefits, there are many other smaller BPO companies which do not address the peculiar problems of their employees arising from the very nature of their work. Among the problems we’ve noticed from the feedback we have received, is that BPO companies devise mechanisms to prevent many of their employees from becoming regularized despite having been employed as probationary workers or trainees for more than six months. This mechanism effectively divests many BPO workers of the benefits that should be granted to them for all the time they have spent serving the company, from the right to money claims and security of tenure, to the right to regular medical check-ups,”says Palatino in the explanatory note attached to the copy of the bill that his office has sent to CBCPNews.
According to the lawmaker, many BPO workers are facing “health and psychological risks” as they perform their everyday duties.
“In many BPO companies, employees are not allowed to take restroom breaks for hours on end in order to satisfy quotas or demands. It is thus no wonder why many BPO employees complain of urinary tract infections and other such complications after their employment in BPO workplaces. Because of the nature of their work, BPO workers, more than half of whom work in night shifts according to the most recent study of the International Labor Organization (ILO), have a greater risk of contracting sleeping disorders, depression, eye strains, vocal complications and other similar health problems,” said Palatino.
Due this, says Palatino, it has become even more imperative for all BPO workers to be afforded regular medical check-ups, regardless of their status as regulars, probationary workers or trainees.
“To address these problems, we have incorporated two new provisions in this new bill for BPO workers, one for mandatory regularization of all employees who have worked for at least six months in the company, and one for the standardization of restroom breaks, aside from the standardization of the medical check-up benefits for all workers,” the lawmaker further explained.
Also included in his bill is the guarantee of the BPO employees’ rights to organize and form labor unions, which is prohibited in many BPO firms in the country, and their right to due process, as many BPO firms allegedly fire or suspend their employees without the spirit of due process. (Written for CBCPNews.com)