Many companies to cut bonus, benefits

Published by rudy Date posted on April 16, 2009

MANILA, Philippines — Local and foreign firms operating in the country have resorted to cutting employee bonuses and benefits just to keep from laying people off.

A recent survey conducted by the Australia-New Zealand, British, Canadian and European chambers of commerce of the Philippines showed that 12 percent of the human resource executives polled had decided to implement a benefits reduction program in their companies.

Another 13 percent said they have also instituted a variable bonus reduction program as part of efforts to keep company costs down.

In terms of salary, 22 percent of those surveyed said they had implemented a salary freeze. However, 15 percent of the 85 HR executives polled said they gave salary increases to their employees.

While 28 percent of those polled said they were on a freeze-hiring phase right now, 18 percent said they were still on hiring mode.

To keep from letting people go, the survey showed that 12 percent of respondents also chose to implement reduced workweeks. Around 18 percent of those surveyed, however, have already been forced to implement redundancy measures.

In general, 79 percent of the HR executives surveyed said current economic conditions have affected their HR strategies for the year, forcing them to institute measures that were not originally in their game plans.

Still, 34 percent have not implemented any HR actions, choosing instead to see how the economy would change over the course of the year.

The survey was conducted on March 27 during a Flexible Workweek forum conducted by the various chambers in an effort to help local and foreign businesses make wiser decisions about their employees and their businesses in general.

“A lot of them wanted to know more about the flexibility program discussed with the (Department of Labor and Employment) before. The discussions focused mainly on what they should do in the future,” said Henry Schumacher, executive vice president of the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines.–Abigail L. Ho, Philippine Daily Inquirer

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