Poll: BPO firms’ response to floods ‘adequate’By Riza T. Olchondra
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP) said that more employees of the sector were unable to report for work last week compared to previous flooding incidents.
“Because flooding last week was widespread and persistent compared with previous storms such as Ondoy in 2009, IT-BPO firms reported an increase in the number of employees unable to report for work because of the weather conditions. The exact percentage of employee turnout, however, varies among companies and locations and is not yet clear,” BPAP said.
It cited a poll conducted on member-companies on their continuity plans and emergency assistance initiatives for employees as part of efforts to mitigate the impact of calamities.
BPAP said in a statement that an initial survey conducted late last week bared several initiatives, including monetary relief for affected employees consisting of interest-free loans, 13th-month pay advances, and outright grants. A large part of Luzon was inundated during the recent surge of monsoon rains. Metro Manila, which hosts hundreds of the country’s IT-BPO companies, was not spared.
Employees who reported to work were generally able to cover for their colleagues, BPAP said. Other employees and their managers worked from home.
Throughout the crisis, despite some outages, electrical and communications infrastructure was stable. Employees who worked on August 7 received a 30 percent premium on basic pay in compliance with a directive from the Department of Labor and Employment, the BPAP said.
PricewaterhouseCoopers Service Center Delivery Manila had to close their Ortigas office on August 7 in consideration of employee turnout due to the bad weather. In succeeding days, however, the situation quickly improved. On August 8, 50 percent of the staff was able to go to work while employee attendance on August 9 and 10 increased to 65 and 95 percent, respectively, BPAP said.
BPAP president and CEO Benedict Hernandez said most IT-BPOs continued to deliver services despite the reduced workforce and only “a handful” of IT-BPOs suspended operations for less than 24 hours.
“Even in those cases, critical service staffing was maintained,” he said.
He said BPAP will continue to work closely with the government to ensure employee safety, enhance disaster preparedness, and mitigate service disruption.
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