There is an overwhelmingly vast demand for employees to work for the business process outsourcing industry that continue to emerge like mushrooms all over the Philippines.
This is because US-based companies are targeting the country as its business destination. They bank on its reputation as one of the largest English-speaking countries in Asia, with stable infrastructure and abundant supply of technological and human resources.
In turn, these companies offer very generous salary rates, with $300 per month as starting pay for an entry-level position.
Despite these, many call center agents and employees, however, are beset with various problems such as work-related stress or hazards, absenteeism, deteriorating health, and rising HIV-AIDS cases due to promiscuous sex.
There are scientific studies that point out to the disruption of the human body clock due to graveyard shift, causing disturbed sleep, fatigue, disorientation, manic depression, and heart problems.
Many may need some psychiatric help after being exposed to verbal abuse by irate callers.
Majority of them belong to the youth with ages that range from 18 years old to early 20s. Being the youngest in the workforce with less or no experience and new graduates, they are vulnerable to abuse since they do not know how to protect themselves.
Given these dire conditions, there is a need to adopt measures to protect call center employees and promote their welfare, making them free from:
- Understaffing or overloading of work
- Interference or coercion
- Discrimination of all forms such as pregnant women, as well as people who are elderly and with disabilities
- Company bond and administrative proceedings without safeguards
Meanwhile, the Department of Labor and Employment or DOLE has issued a circular in 2008 mandating all call center and BPO companies to initiate and implement occupational safety and health programs for the benefit of their employees.
The said circular includes a program toward minimizing risks and hazards, capacity building in the workplace, and giving access to medical and welfare services.
Aside from this, the government agency will look into reported cases of HIV-AIDS as BPO firms are boosting their expansion in different investment areas of the country.