Roxas bats for call center worker benefits

Published by rudy Date posted on August 11, 2005


CALL center workers must have free medical checkups, free transport services, and be allowed to work in a compressed or flexible time arrangement, a senator proposed Tuesday.

Senator Manuel “Mar” Roxas, head of the Senate committee on trade and commerce, has filed Senate Bill 2071, which seeks to amend three provisions in the Labor Code so that the welfare of call center agents and skilled night workers may be protected.

“The call center industry employs an estimated 96,000 people with [a] projected revenue of one billion dollars for 2005. It deserves utmost protection and attention,” he said.

Under the bill, an employee who works the graveyard shift — that is from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. — should be given free medical checkups to ensure fitness for night work, provided free rides from their work site to areas where public transportation is readily available, and be allowed to work under compressed or flexible time arrangement.

“Given the nature of [the] call center business where work patterns and schedules are controlled by technology concerns, caller behavior, regulations in other countries, there is a need to adapt to the changing requirements of [the] business while ensuring that the rights of workers to humane working conditions are protected,” he said in a statement. Roxas also wants a prohibition against women working at night repealed.

Citing latest labor statistics, which indicates that 70 percent of call center employees are women, Roxas said that women should be allowed to benefit from the growing call center industry and be given equal treatment as men.

Roxas said that under the International Labor Organization standard pertaining to night work for women, which the Philippines adopted and was incorporated into the Labor Code in December 1953, women are prohibited from working at night in any private or public industrial undertaking except for managerial, technical, health, and welfare services.

“Over the years, most nations who previously ratified this standard have moved to repeal their laws on night work prohibition for women,” he pointed out. —by Veronica Uy,

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