Labor Day Proposal

The other day, the Blas F. Ople Policy Center issued a press release calling for additional non-wage benefits for Filipino workers.

Our proposal includes the ff:

1. 4-day work week for government workers – this will enable the government to save on energy costs while enabling its employees to use the 3-day weekend to be with their families or venture into micro enterprises (read:sidelines). This will also translate to modest weekly savings on the part of the employees in terms of transport and food costs.

2. Extra benefits for call center employees given the success of the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry. For example, successful call center companies must invest in free shuttle service to pick up and drop off their night shift workers, many of who are young women. This way, parents can feel more at ease regarding the security of their children while the workers or call center agents themselves will be motivated to go to work knowing that their employers are looking after their safety.
3. Government must invest public funds to stimulate the economy and create jobs. An emergency employment program is needed to help families survive the current regime of high oil and food prices. Government can be the biggest outsourcing client in the country. It has numerous files that need to be encoded, official records that need to be digitized or transcribed, and the sheer volume of government forms and info materials that deserve to be translated into several dialects are enough to keep quite a few jobless Filipinos busy. A massive housing and infrastructure program particularly in disaster-prone areas would help provide temporary employment to both skilled and unskilled workers. The point is, giving dole-outs in exchange for cheap varieties of rice or cash vouchers, could give way to a more holistic employment program geared towards productivity and skills training and development.

4. Our fourth proposal is to re-launch the Summer Program for the Employment of Students (SPES). This is a little known program under the Department of Labor and Employment. This can be part of the corporate social responsibility projects of stable and financially capable companies. This will also enable our students to save up for the proverbial rainy day.

Let’s hope that the government will adopt or at least consider our proposal.

Happy Labor Day!

Author: Susan Ople

Susan "Toots" Ople is the President of the Blas F. Ople Policy and Training Institute. She's an OFW and labor advocate based in the Philippines.

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