IT-BPO group cheers WFH policy extension
The IT & Business Process Association of the Philippines Inc. (IBPAP) on Saturday welcomed the announcement from the Department of Finance to extend until further notice the work-from-home (WFH) arrangement policy earlier agreed with the government.
IBPAP president Jack Madrid said the industry, as well as the investors and employees were relieved that the Finance department listened to their call.
“We are relieved and we are also looking forward to a more permanent and much needed solution,” Madrid said in an interview with the ABS-CBN News channel.
The IBPAP official said that an overwhelming majority of the workforce and employers have expressed a very strong preference for a hybrid work setup.
“We experienced extremely high productivity levels without any dip in customer satisfaction ratings from our global customers through the pandemic,” Madrid said further, in an effort to allay concerns that the quality of work is affected by such an arrangement.
Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno, who is also chair of the Fiscal Incentives Review Board (FIRB) said earlier on Friday of last week that business process outsourcing (BPO) firms need to retain the 70 percent onsite-30 percent WFH arrangement.
Diokno’s statement said this would be until the FIRB conclusively decides on the Philippine Economic Zone Authority’s (PEZA) request to extend it.
PEZA officer-in-charge and Deputy Director General for Policy and Planning Tereso Panga earlier warned that the IT-BPO industry might suffer substantial losses if the government decides to end the policy.
Panga noted that it may result in an exodus of highly-skilled employees if the non-extension forces firms require 100 percent of its work force to return working on-site.
The PEZA official expressed concern that it may drive employees to look for work elsewhere which offer more flexible working arrangements.
Those firms may also decide to cancel their registration with PEZA and instead set up their business outside the Philippines where hybrid work arrangements do not result in the loss of fiscal incentives, added Panga.
Since April of this year, businesses registered under PEZA were given leeway in their work arrangements and continue to enjoy tax incentives despite 30 percent of their employees working from the comfort of their homes.
Earlier last month, the IBPAP said the industry grew its revenue in 2021 by 10.6 percent, recording $29.49 billion in revenues. The sector’s full-time employees also increased by 120,000 last year, bringing the overall headcount to 1.44 million people.
The sector is expected to further grow its revenues by up to 10 percent and its full-time employees by up to 8 percent in 2022.
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