Call centers, business process outsourcing firms hurting over additional holidays

Published by rudy Date posted on February 13, 2009

A SENIOR official from the Business Process Association of the Philippines (BPAP) on Thursday asked Malacañang to reduce the number of holidays in the country, saying the call center industry at this critical time is hurting and cannot afford the burden of increased holiday pays.

Oscar Sañez, BPAP chief executive officer, said in light of the global financial crisis, what the government can do is help industries save by reducing the number of holidays.

“In an industry that runs 24/7 [such as business process out­sourcing], what we are asking the government is to address the [holiday] issue,” Sañez said.

According to BPAP records, the call center industry spends some P6 million to P8 million a day on holiday pays.

In 2008, BPO firms spent P132 million to P172 million for the 22 holidays declared by the Palace.

For this year, when the effects of the global recession are expected to hit the Philippines, the Palace has declared 15 holidays.

Sañez quickly clarified the industry is not shirking from its duty to give employee benefits.

What they find problematic, he said, are the sudden declarations of holidays that catch them offguard and unprepared.

“[We hope for less holidays] because more holidays mean significant cost increase for us,” Benedict Hernandez, vice president for Philippine operations for eTelecare said.

Employees working during holidays usually get a double pay for the first eight hours, and an additional 30 percent for every hour beyond.

A call center employee usually gets from P15, 000 to P25, 000 monthly salary.
— Francis Earl A. Cueto, Manila Times

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