RP urged to reconsider local holiday schemes

Published by rudy Date posted on February 23, 2009

MANILA, Philippines – The American Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines (AmCham) urged the government to consider revising its local holiday schemes especially for business process outsourcing (BPO) firms or call centers to help companies save money amidst the global economic crisis.

“We support moves to have BPOs adopt the calendar of the country they are servicing,” Robert Sears, executive director of AmCham told The STAR.

Sears said it is more efficient to follow the holiday of the country where the service is being provided instead of the holidays in the Philippines.

“Even if it is a holiday here but not in that country, people expect the BPOs to provide service,” he added.

“This is the way of globalization. We must adapt to it in order to flourish,” he explained.

The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) had asked the government to stop declaring so many holidays and amend the law that requires companies to pay double salary to workers who report to work during holidays.

PCCI president Edgardo Lacson said now is the time to look at ways to cut the operating costs of industries given the slowdown in consumer demand as a result of the global recession.

“The number of holidays must be lessened. Also the law that requires employers to give double pay during holidays must be altered. We must remove the premiums,” said Lacson.

He said business leaders already agreed to reduce their benefits like allowances, bonuses, car plans, entertainment and representation allowances, and other expenses that could be avoided.

“Not only this, I have spoken to some owners and they agreed to not get dividends this year,” Lacson explained.

Dividends are given to owners at the end of each fiscal year. Instead of declaring cash dividends, Lacson said the money might be re-invested in the company.

“We need to spread out the misery. It is wrong to think that only ordinary workers are affected by the less than stellar economy,” he said.

Lacson said the proposed salary cuts across all industries are applicable to presidents and the management team as well as the rank and file.

“Those exempted from salary cuts are the people receiving minimum wage. Everyone else must sacrifice. The low wage earners are already cut to the bone. We cannot remove anything from them any more,” he stressed.

He said presidents and the top management should not be exempted from salary reduction.

Lacson said he does not know how much the salary cut will be and which industry will be most affected.

“It really depends on how much the company is losing,” he said.- Elisa Osorio, Philippine Star

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