SENATOR Joel Villanueva on Labor Day said that a “post-pandemic Filipino workforce” is emerging in the country coming from the past two years, and that government policies should catch up in addressing their concerns.
“We are seeing the rise of health and well-being as a priority in the Filipino workplace because of the pandemic. It has reached a level where employees will resign or change jobs if employers do not meet employees’ expectations of a workplace, which is taking care of employees’ physical and mental health, as well as work-life balance,” Villanueva said.
The senator cited a recent 2022 World Trend Index (WTI) by the technology company Microsoft, where it was reported that nearly half or 49% of Filipino employees hired during the pandemic are already considering changing jobs. The survey also reported that 67% of Filipino workers are likely to prioritize their health and well-being over work more than before the pandemic, higher than the global trend of 53%. The WTI also found that 20% of Filipino employees say they actually left their jobs in the past year.
“Our task now as policy makers is to figure out how to maintain productivity and grow the economy while accommodating the changes in the physical, mental, and emotional needs of the workforce,” Villanueva said.
According to the report, the 2022 Work Trend Index outlines findings from a study of 31,000 people in 31 countries, with at least 1,000 full-time workers as respondents coming from the Philippines.
The author and sponsor of the Work From Home Law also noted that 60% of Filipino workers in the survey say they are considering a switch to remote or hybrid work in the next year. Yet the same study found that 69% of business leaders in the country say their company is planning to require employees to work in-person full time within the next year, and only 38% of them have created arrangements with their employees for alternative work arrangements.
Villanueva warned that the government and its policies “should not be out of touch” with the current mindset of the “post-pandemic Filipino workforce” and proactively anticipate broad changes in their needs and behaviors.
“We should act fast and think progressively to close this disconnect between the interests of industry and workers. For example, businesses should work with the government for the full implementation of the Work From Home Law. We also have the Tulong Trabaho Law for skills training and upskilling our workers for whatever job they want. We must understand that employees nowadays do not work for wages alone,” said Villanueva.
The senator also noted the recent decision made by Concentrix, a BPO firm of 100,000 workers in the country, to maintain work from home or hybrid work arrangements for their employees rather than avail of tax incentives from the government.
Concentrix reportedly made this decision after the Fiscal Incentives Review Board gave BPOs the ultimatum for their employees to physically return to working in their offices starting April 1 or lose tax incentives under the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Law.
“It’s a classic case of the government falling behind innovations. The innovation that we need now should be focused to benefit the post-pandemic workforce. Concentrix should be emulated rather than penalized for listening to their employees,” the senator said.
Villanueva’s Work From Home Law or Republic Act 11165 was enacted back in 2019 to promote alternative work arrangements primarily to address the daily problem of commuting and travel for workers whose work can be done remotely from the office. It has gained even more significance in the past two years as a means to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.