Foreign firms seek flexible holiday pay

Published by rudy Date posted on February 8, 2009

Foreign companies in the country are seeking a flexible holiday arrangement to help them cope with the economic slump as well as preserve jobs.

Ernie Cecilia, American Chamber of Commerce (Amcham) committee chairman for industrial relations, said the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry alone spends P82 million per day during holidays.

“We are therefore proposing a way to enhance the capacity of the industry to absorb more employees, especially those that will be displaced in other industries, by giving more flexibility for companies and employees to fix and reset their holidays,” Cecilia said in a statement.

He said the high cost of holiday pay has put a heavy financial burden on companies, which are already reeling from the effects of the global crisis.

Malacañang has already announced nine holidays for this year.

Cecilia stressed that Amcham’s proposal is not intended to exempt foreign employers from giving holiday pay to local workers.

“The purpose is not to avoid paying holiday pay, but to have the flexibility for both employers and employees to set the holidays on days when customer requirements allow for some slack in the workplace,” Cecilia said.

Cecilia said the proposed scheme, if allowed by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), would not compromise the productivity of workers or impose extra burden on employers.

He said companies serving clients abroad are beginning to feel the impact of the global financial crisis and are exerting efforts to save on operational costs.

“Instead of resorting to layoffs, we are looking at more flexible work arrangements,” Cecilia said.

Earlier, the labor department issued guidelines on implementing a compressed workweek to keep companies from having to retrench workers.

The DOLE said 40,000 workers have already been displaced as a result of the crisis.–Mayen Jaymalin, Philippine Star

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