Good news, BPO workers! House Deputy Speaker and Las Piñas Congresswoman Camille Villar has introduced a groundbreaking measure — the BPO Workers Bill. The bill seeks to reshape the landscape of the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry.
Officially known as the BPO Workers’ Welfare and Protection Act of 2023 or House Bill 9342, this legislative initiative seeks to establish robust standards ensuring the fair and compassionate treatment of all workers within. Keep reading to learn more!
A Better Workplace
With the BPO industry remaining one of the country’s promising cash cows, Villar emphasizes the need to treat its workers justly and humanely:
“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.”
Villar underscores the significance of establishing better industry standards. This is to ensure the safety, well-being, and rights of employees working in this crucial sector.
The BPO Workers Bill addresses the unique challenges faced by BPO workers, such as night shifts, health sacrifices, and time commitments to their families. It advocates for comprehensive protections like occupational health and safety, work-life balance, fair compensation, and transportation perks. The bill also includes the right to self-organization.
Under the provisions of the bill, BPO companies are explicitly prohibited from compelling employees to pay a company bond or imposing unreasonable fees upon premature departure. The legislation also safeguards workers from discrimination based on various factors, such as ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, race, religion, and more.
The BPO Workers Bill also explicitly prohibits abusive language, physical violence, or any act that undermines the dignity of an employee.
Under the bill, there’ll be no more “endo” for BPOs moving forward. The measure ensures that BPO workers attain regular employee status after completing six months of work. This includes probationary, training, or apprenticeship periods. It limits normal work hours to eight hours a day, with a mandatory day off each week.
As for overtime, provisions have also been set. Overtime work is to be compensated at the regular hourly wage plus 25%. Night shift differentials should not be less than 10% of the regular wage for each hour worked during the night shift. There’ll be no more taking advantage of hardworking BPO employees.
Consequences for Violators
The BPO Workers Bill lays down stringent consequences for violations. Fines begin at P100,000. Possible imprisonment ranges from two months to one year for individuals or companies found guilty.
Villar reiterates the government’s primary responsibility of safeguarding the welfare of workers, especially the youth, in BPO companies to ensure the continued growth of the industry. Without having the pertinent laws in place, protecting these workers will be more difficult.
Thank you, Rep. Camille Villar for this initiative! We applaud your unwavering commitment to BPO workers. The rest of our lawmakers need to recognize this industry more as well. With more business districts being created, more workers will surely enter this sector. We hope to see this change come to fruition soon!