August 14, 2023 | 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines — A lawmaker has filed a bill to protect workers of business process outsourcing (BPO) firms, which he described as among the country’s “economic drivers.”
House Bill 8733, authored by Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte Jr., is proposing measures to address the working conditions of the country’s BPO workers, estimated at more than 1.2 million.
There are “gaps in existing labor laws such as access to relevant information, protection from understaffing or overloading, additional benefits to promote safety, health and overall wellbeing of employees, among others,” the explanatory note of the proposed BPO Workers’ Welfare Protection Act read.
“Their working conditions are difficult because of impossibly high performance standards, inadequate restroom breaks and sudden changes in shift schedules,” the bill stated.
Under the bill, BPO companies shall be mandated to uphold the rights and benefits of their workers under the Labor Code.
“Abusive language, physical violence or any act which debases the dignity of a person shall not be used against the employee,” the bill stated.
The measure will prohibit understaffing or overloading by ensuring that the “ratio of BPO worker to client quota or quantitative targets shall be such as to reasonably effect a sustained quality of service at all times without overworking the workers.”
The bill also mandates the regularization of BPO workers and upholds their rights to “self-organization and participate in democratic exercises,” among others.